BY Nicky Denegri

DATE: 13 OCT 2016


I am a fan of the merry-go-round.  There’s something about twirling around gently on a pretend horse with a flowing mane that is deeply pleasing.  Those particular merry-go-rounds last only a few minutes though, unlike the changes which take place in teams on a fairly regular basis, and feel like an altogether different type of merry-go-round.

One of my clients has a team that is a) constantly growing in terms of its remit and b) constantly changing in terms of its people.  This is because she’s fantastic at her job; her clear-sighted and long-term strategic view means she needs more people to meet these and the operational goals; people in her organisation want to come and work for her to spend time learning from the best, and because they and others in the team eventually go on to use their skills and knowledge elsewhere in more senior roles (which she’s delighted about – these people act as ambassadors for her and her organisation).  

A while back she was worried about the messages this regular staff turnover might send to the outside world.  Take a moment to look at it through a lens like the one above though, and it’s a great pitch to be able to give people about why they should work with or for you.  You get fantastic experience and development; you’ll have a name on your CV that really means something and you’ll have contributed to the growth of something fantastic.  

Part of this team’s success comes from the time it takes to get people on board (they will wait to recruit the right person, rather than pick the best of an unsuitable bunch); to show them the ropes and get to know them, and vice versa.  Everyone has their own personality and behaviours that they bring and these are celebrated.  It’s easy for the people welcoming a new team member to compare them – unfavourably - to the colleague whom they’ve just replaced (“Oh, John was always cheerful in the morning….” or, “Lesley was much more efficient….”).  This team understands that It takes time to build up a shared history, rapport and trust, and because we are all – yes, all of us – prone to unconscious bias when dealing with colleagues, that individually and collectively they need to challenge those biases.  

Now of course there are certain behaviours that are a no-no at work and which should be avoided at all costs.  Others are less palatable and should be kept in check.  So it’s not about giving free rein to your emotions and behavioural quirks – certain things are best left outside the door in order to build relationships that are about good, long-term and productive outcomes.  This team understands that.  They regularly take climate checks to ensure that they are all taking personal responsibility; paying attention to their values and giving and receiving feedback if they are showing signs of missing the behavioural targets they set themselves.  

Despite all this they understand that the merry-go-round goes up and down as well as round and round.  That occasionally there’s even the risk of someone falling off (metaphorically) if they become disengaged.  Worst case scenario it might feel as if it’s at risk of breaking down completely, or progress going or too slowly for your liking.  Stick with it however and you’ll feel less like you’ve indulged in too much candy floss and more like you’ve won the biggest and best prize on the hoopla!


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about the author

Nicky Denegri is our Senior Consultant. If you would like to know more about this subject, drop her an email and we will be in touch.

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