July 22, 2021

“My Team’s Not on the Same Page as Me!”

“Yes, I am playing the right notes.
But not necessarily (pause) in the right order!”

It’s a classic line.
From a classic comedy sketch.

One that you’ll have to pretend you’re not old enough to remember.

Morecambe and Wise making a fool out of the then-celebrity conductor Andre Previn (or “Andrew Preview” as they called him).

The climax of the sketch reached as Eric Morecambe plinky-plonks a few bars, vaguely reminiscent of Grieg’s Piano Concerto.

Even using more than two fingers.


Just not quite in harmony with the accompanying orchestra.

You don’t have to look far to witness teams who are not quite in harmony with their (hugely talented, charismatic) leader.

The leader approaches me (or some other coach or consultant) baffled and somewhat frazzled.

“Can you help me to get them – my team – on the same page as me?” they plead.

I listen for a while to what they see as being wrong.
Then I listen for a while longer.
Sometimes much longer.
And at some stage I find space to ask this question:

“As The Leader…How Much of This Lack of Harmony Are You Willing to Take Responsibility for?”

(Yes, I admit.
Not an easy question to answer.
Tough, in fact.
Because it’s not unusual to invest decades of pride in this Page of ours.

I mean.
“If I’m the leader… I must be in the right.”

Then I listen carefully to what ‘The Page’ looks like.

Ah! That page!
I see.

To which I ask…
“Could you help me understand how the team reached those conclusions on that Page?”

Well, the team didn’t. Did it?

“Oh, I see! This is YOUR page then?”

Well, of course it’s the leader’s page.
(It normally is, isn’t it?)

The only challenge now is to persuade everyone else that this is the Page they need to be on.

Well, it’s possible.
Just unnecessarily difficult.

Being a Know-It-All definitely has its compensations and glories.

We get to showcase just how much we can do. Just how good we really are.

The problem is…
The firm we’re leading is then limited by what we ourselves know how to do.

Quite apart from which…
it may not occur to us that…
The Page we’re on might be the last place our team wants to be!

What to do?

Here’s a clue. A clue in a little story.

Did I ever tell you the one about the Junior Paraplanner?
The Junior Paraplanner whom I invited to join us in a directors’ quarterly board meeting?

Within one hour it was clear that she could see solutions to problems that baffled the directors.

5 years later she was the CEO.

Good little story, huh?

In that anecdote is the answer to your ‘Same Page’ problem.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, once you’ve worked out what it might be.