Where do you keep your ketchup?
So I have been think a lot lately about team building and how organizations approach team building. And then I started to think about ketchup. No, it was not my ADHD kicking in, stay with me for a moment.
If you are from the United States, you probably keep your ketchup in the refrigerator. If you are British, you probably keep your ketchup in the pantry. So what? Well, in the US if you run out of ketchup, you may reach for something else in the fridge; maybe you reach for mustard or mayonnaise. If you are British and you run out of ketchup you might reach for something different in the pantry, like malt vinegar.
The point is this: When you are building a team you do not want to hire people that come from the same backgrounds and have the same beliefs. You want to hire people that approach things differently, have different views and perspectives. You want to make sure that you are hiring a diverse workforce. You want to hire people that keep their ketchup in the fridge, and those that keep it in the pantry.
In my last post I talked about culture. This great ketchup debate ties into culture. I have seen organizations where the leaders were afraid to hire people who were smarter than them. The owners wanted to be the smartest people in the room, and did not want to worry about the conflict that comes from healthy discussion around disagreements. This leads to a stagnate work environment, where the employees feel they simply serve at the pleasure of the owner, and thus are not engaged.
When I build teams I am always looking for the people that are willing to have those healthy debates. Conflict can be good! Challenging ideas can lead to breakthroughs. This type of team is the one you want to create if you want a group that will strive to think big and act big!
So, where does your team keep the ketchup?