Work in Pairs

Problem:

You want to bounce ideas off of someone else, but everyone is so busy.  Also, some people appear to be slacking in their projects because there’s no real accountability.

Solution:

Work in pairs.  Give a project or a pretty meaty task to two people and have them work together to get it done.

They can decide how they split up smaller tasks among themselves, they can bounce ideas and suggestions off of each other, and they can be accountable to one another for getting stuff done.

Two heads are always better than one, so by collectively picking a strategy or tactics to accomplish your task, you’ll usually come up with something better than you would have by yourself.

And when you’re working closely with a peer, there is a certain amount of accountability because you know what each other is supposed to be doing.  There’s no slacking off.

Of course, you must avoid the politics and positioning and selfish competitive stuff that happens among coworkers.  Both individuals should be given equal credit for the accomplishment of a successful project or task.

Some people or personalities may work better together than others, so be aware of this dynamic and don’t keep people together for extended periods of time, unless they specifically request it.  Even then, pairs should be rotated so that everyone has a chance to work with multiple people.

There are probably additional benefits to this tactic.  Can you think of any?

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Rex, the benefits of having a “Ranger buddy” are many. Some that I’ve seen that you haven’t mentioned:

    1. There are two people that a superior can go to for an update, reducing induced stress for everyone.

    2. With an extra body to handle non-mission critical tasks from time to time (see talking to boss, above), when one of the team is in the mythical state of flow, she doesn’t have to be interrupted.

    3. If the team involves people from slightly different networks, the available resources and knowledge from the network just went way, way up. This is also true with related but different skill sets. Working at ThoughtStorm with my partner, an ex-Army guy like me but with a stronger finance background, gives us two complementary ways to attack a problem but with a similar mindset about the overall goal.

    4. Even for antisocial people, working with someone else, on a shared goal, is inherently more exciting, fun, and probably even fulfilling.

    One reason we generally make soldiers do everything in twos, absolutely in the field and often in regular work environments, is that your Ranger buddy is both a guardian angel, to watch out or get help if something bad happens, and a source of advice to give you feedback on plans and suggest different approaches.

    Rick

    Reply

    • Posted by rex on Thursday at 8:54 am

      I knew there were more! Thanks Rick!

      Yes, those are awesome benefits, they are easier to get a hold of, they can take turns, they have more knowledge, and they can have fun sharing the experience. Increased safety and watching out for each other are also very valuable even in an office work environment.

      Thanks for sharing your insight, Rick. I knew ‘having a buddy’ wasn’t a new concept, but it might be in an office because we think it’s wasting people’s time or something. I think it would actually cause us to be more productive.

      Reply

  2. [...] pal Rex [video link] just posted about teamwork, in the literal sense, over at [...]

    Reply

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