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Understanding the 90-10 rule in team building

I had to relocate to a new home. It was a tiresome week since I had to shift a ton of stuff from my old apartment to my new space. The entire week was piled up with some strenuous moving, company affairs, and some of my chores that I barely found the time to take a breath of relief. The week took longer than I thought, but I was finally glad to wake up in the morning on Saturday.

I knew I had a pile of clothes lined up for laundry, and so the first thing I did that morning (even before sipping on some coffee) was tossing them into the washer. Despite the exhaustion from moving all week, I checked all the pipe fittings because the washer was recently set up, and I was not quite sure about its functioning. So I poured some Matic liquid, plugged in the washer, and voila, I let the washer do its job.

Now I needed to pour myself a cup of coffee before I got drowsy. I quickly went to my kitchen to look for some coffee sachets, and when I poured some boiling water into my favourite mug, something chilly yet soft and soothing brushed my feet. It felt good for a moment back then, and when I quickly snapped back into reality, I noticed the entire kitchen floor was flooded! Talk about chilling on a weekend.

I realized the water was gushing out via the washroom adjacent to the kitchen. Hoping for just the opposite of what you might think now, I carefully watched my step into the washroom and found the washer’s outlet valve wobbling like a snake on the floor instead of the drain.

It turns out it was a fault on my end for not fixing the outlet into the drain. The day became a Saturday morning chaos. I realized that almost 12 Litres of water was spread across the apartment floor, and all I did at that point was go to my hall and sit down to think about the mess I’d created.

Finding the right people can be a great asset to the team. As the team grows together, the company grows with it. And eventually, it becomes a win-win situation.

I thought of many ways to clean up this flooded mess. I remembered I’d disposed of my old floor mop and had yet to receive a new one I ordered online. I finally decided to use two of my bath towels since there wasn’t a better alternative. I threw them at the most flooded areas to quickly squeeze out the excess, and it turned out that my towels did a fantastic job in quickly absorbing water.

In no time, I managed to discard about 90% of the water that covered my floors. The hard job came when I had to clean up the remaining 10% of it; I needed to make sure my kitchen was safe, non-slippery, and free from any future fungal attacks. Although I was happy about 90% of the cleanup, this 10% drained every ounce of energy in me.

This incident might sound quite funny or stupid, thinking about the drastic measures I had to take to clean up my own mess. But when I look back to think of it now, I realize how I’ve experienced such a similar situation at the workplace in many ways.

The old incident became relevant when I was building a team for myself at the company. Initially, everyone who is taken into the organization tends to perform well and exhibit their full potential. There certainly is nothing wrong with that, but I think the reason for this might be that people who are newly integrated into an organization become fascinated by what is being offered and what challenges one might need to face. And because of this fascination, they tend to perform tasks with greater enthusiasm, believing they might learn new things in the process. But in reality, this enthusiasm eventually withers away.

Just like the 90% of the water that was easy to clean up, most of us are exceptionally good at surface tasks, but when it comes to getting down to the nitty-gritty 10%, not many of us end up doing a good job. In actuality, the real test is on this very 10% of the work that we do in our lives, which needs more focus, time, and effort, and not to forget that patience plays a crucial role.

Most of the time, the 10% of the work we do becomes a determining factor of a company's success than the remaining 90% of it. The task, if performed well, can help the company gain and grow simultaneously. The best way to test this theory out is to work on it ourselves as a team where the employees' true potential can be evaluated. Performing the hard-as-shell 10% tasks can give employers a headstart on how employees respond to changes in the work environment, stress, new challenges, moods, and goals. In addition, it can also determine an employee's inspiring factor–whether it is money, work ethics, or growth in the organization.

And that's where team building comes into the picture. When building a team for yourself, be it a company or perhaps even a group of friends, pay close attention to the team players. Keeping the 90-10 percent rule in mind, you will be able to understand the composition of your team. Some may fail, while some may be exceptional at what they do. When you realize the team hasn't struck a balance, or when you feel like there is a lack of sync in energy, it's time to either train or motivate them or simply revise your team. The reality might seem a bit harsh, but it is essential to find the right people. Finding the right people can be a great asset to the team. As the team grows together, the company grows with it. And eventually, it becomes a win-win situation.

When I say finding the right people while building a team, they ought to be an asset and not a liability to your organization. When you form a team of people who don't really fit, they become a liability. Not having the work done in time, postponing tasks, and giving reasons to cover up mistakes will all lead to liabilities that can cost the company great expense. The company, as a result, could slowly decline in organic growth, with increased burn rates. These triggers are vital signs that every founder must look out for because the time you spend by not revising your team can cost a lot in terms of finance, time, and your efforts.

Human effort is priceless; you cannot really measure it or calculate it in terms of money. So when you spend your time and efforts to build a team, understand the consequences pre and post-hand. For as the great saying goes, "United we stand, divided we fall."

Happy Team Building!

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