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The Super Chicken Model: A Flawed Way Of Organizing For Success

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Margaret Heffernan: Super Chicken Model and Work Culture – Ted Talk 2015

The super chicken model is a term that MIT coined in order to describe the way most organizations and societies are run. The super chicken model is based on the idea of picking the brightest men or women in the room and giving them all the resources and power. This approach has been used for years but is no longer effective. As your business companion, we will explore how to identify if you are running the super chicken model and what you can do to improve your team dynamic and build a for the future of work culture.

Do You Have Favorites In The Office?

The super chicken model is often used in organizations by picking favorites. This can be detrimental to work culture because it creates an environment of competition instead of cooperation. If you have favorites in the office, ask yourself why. Is it because they are the brightest? Most talented? Hardest working? Do they brown-nose you? Even those bringing no progress to the business can be kept around because they are a favorite.

Then ask yourself how your team can become your favorite instead of individuals. Everyone should matter in your organization; if you have favorites, it’s time to reevaluate your team dynamic.

What is Your Communication Style?

Are you the type of leader who has an open-door policy? Do you listen to your team and value their opinions? If you answered yes to both, then you’re on the right track however, if you find yourself communicating primarily through email or only talking to your team when there’s a problem, then maybe it’s time to bust out the team happy hours.

Teams get segregated into favorites and non-favorites because leaders communicate through email or other forms of text instead of face-to-face. This can create a disconnect between the leader and the team. You need to understand and connect with your team on a personal level to create a cohesive work environment. Yes, this will require more work on your end as a leader, but that is what being a leader is all about- being able to put in the extra effort for your team.

Do You Have A Good Base Of Operations?

How easy is it for your team to succeed in your organization? If you have a good base of operations, then your team should be able to succeed without too much difficulty. However, if you find that your team is constantly struggling or if they are always asking for help, then maybe it’s time to take a step back and evaluate your work environment.

Most studies show that people who struggle in teams don’t grasp workflows and processes well. This may include their roles and expectations when working with the team. As a leader, you need to be able to provide your team with the tools and resources they need to be successful. Here are some ways you can improve your operations

  • Ask your team to review processes and documentation relating to their roles and responsibilities.
  • Have project reports that outline any hiccups in the process
  • Let your team get creative and allow them to help build processes and scopes of work for projects
  • Encourage collective feedback. Not just 1-on-1 but in group sessions.

Do You Encourage A Work/Life Balance?

This is a big one. If you want to create a work environment that supports your team and has everyone engaged, then you need to encourage a work/life balance. This means not working your team to the bone and expecting them never to take a day off. It also means creating an environment where people feel comfortable taking a vacation and sick days without feeling like they will get penalized or miss out on work. This means you need to know your team’s schedule and needs. Know when their birthday is coming up, and let them know that you plan on working around them so they can take that time off.

Are You A Leader That Listens?

Remember, your teammates are humans that have feelings, bad days, and lives outside of work. To create a super team, you need to listen to your team. This includes when they are feeling burnt out, need help with a project, or just want to talk about their weekend—emphasizing again that you also need to allow your team to provide feedback on projects and, in general, about the company culture. Listening doesn’t mean you have to take every suggestion they make, but it does mean that you value their opinion and what they have to say.

Make sure you show them you considered that feedback. Often, people will give feedback and never feel like their voices are heard. As a leader, you need to be able to listen to your team and show them that you are considering their suggestions. This doesn’t mean that you have to take every suggestion they make but I,t does mean that you value their opinion and what they have to say

How Transparent Are Your Workflow And Teams?

Are you the type of leader that is always in the know? Do you discuss with your team the incoming projects, budgets, and reports? The old way of business is not letting your team know what’s happening in the organization. This can create a feeling of disconnect and uneasiness in your team. In order to create a super team, you need to be transparent with your workflow and teams. This includes letting them know about the budget for upcoming projects and being open about any changes in the company that may affect them.

Do You Encourage Team Collaboration And Connection?

This is the final question you need to ask yourself when evaluating if you have a super team. Do you encourage team collaboration and connection? If you answered yes, then congratulations! You are on your way to having an awesome team. If not, don’t worry. There’s still time to change that.

Encouraging team collaboration can be as simple as setting up weekly or monthly meetings where everyone gets together to brainstorm ideas or work on projects. This is a great way for people to get to know each other and build relationships outside of work. It also lets people see that everyone is working towards the same goal. You can also encourage team connection by creating social events related to everyone’s interests. Get creative! Although most people like to keep their work life and “fun” life separate. It doesn’t mean you can encourage a “fun” work environment.

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