“All my team wants to do is complain. I know things aren’t perfect, but we still have to get the work done. They shoot down every idea I have,” Chet shook his head.
“Have you ever been crabbing?” I asked. “Crabbing, you know, where you trap crabs, pull them out of the water and throw them into a basket?”
Chet looked at me a bit sideways. “What’s that got to do with my team?”
“Here’s the thing, Chet. If you only have one crab in the basket, you have to really pay attention, because the crab will crawl out of that basket lickety-split. The trick is to catch more crabs quickly. With a bunch of crabs, when one starts to crawl out, the other crabs attach to the legs and pull him back into the basket. You would think they would all try to crawl out, but that’s not what happens. Sometimes, teams are the same way.
“Before you describe a possible solution, go around the table and have each team member describe the major benefits if we are successful at solving the problem. If you can get them to focus on the benefits, they are less likely to focus on the crab (you) trying to crawl out of the basket.”