Teams, just like individuals tenf to get caught in their self-perception and narrative of who they they think they are. It’s a huge blocker of growth. Just like in people these self-narratives tend to develop in the early formative years of the company and are very hard to change.
Last week I asked one of the product people I coach “On a scale of 1–10 how focused would you say the company is?” I could see his energy drop and he answered “5”… “Seriously?!” I said, knowing exactly how the company improved its focus in the past 6 months… Then I tried again “If you looked only at the past 6 months how focused would you say the company is?”… “7–8” he told me and his whole energy changed realizing the team is on the right path!
When he gave me his first answer he was referring to his internalized narrative of the company which he developed more than 3 years ago when the startup was evolving… And although the team is in a completely different place today, when he was asked how focused is the company is today his “system” defaulted to his narrative instead of driving inspiration and excitement from the current state of things.
I see it all the time. People living 3, 4 sometimes 10 years of company history. They carry it around and each new experience is filtered through endless layers of baggage.
Let's do ourselves a favor. Let's give ourselves some grace and assume that we are all on a journey and just like we ourselves grew and evolved in the past years so has everyone else who works with us in the team.
We are not the same people we were 3, 5 ,10 years ago and so is our company.
Let's not rob ourselves of our progress and growth and energy by insisting to carry the weight of our past.