Is Your Team a Circus?

I’m not talking about the three ringed kind. I’m referring to the place with lions, camels, elephants, other assorted animals, acrobats, clowns, tight rope walkers and other assorted people.

What can your team learn from the circus? Great team work, that’s what!

On a recent, and reluctant (on my part) trip to the circus with my 7 year old daughter I found I learned a lot about successful teams. I found myself drawn to observing what happened between acts as I watched a slick team in action.

Here are the key behaviours that the circus team displayed

-lack of preciousness
you might be the intrepid lion tamer but you still help pull down the tight rope walker’s equipment

-precision moves
no speaking required as the circus team pulled down the lion cage in an amazing dance of efficiency and turn taking

-specialisation and multi-skilling
what a surprise to see the trapeze artist serving dagwood dogs from the food caravan in the break – in full makeup!

-a keen eye
when additional help was required to remove an act’s equipment circus people seemed to appear from nowhere and descend upon the ring

attempting the “jump rope whilst on the spinning wheel trick” three times to get it right – which also meant the partner in the other side of the wheel had to do the same

and they have to do it all again tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow

Of course, the circus team would have to practice to get this tight. You can’t just put a group of people together like this and expect great things to happen. Nobody would do that, would they?

If your team is not as slick as the circus team, ask yourself why? What element/s are you missing? Have you practiced? Or are you so focused on taming lions that you neglect your team members?

As the ring master said at the end of the show
“May everyday be a circus day”


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