The HOT Plan™: Who’s on first?


Who’s on first? What’s on second? And I Don’t Know is on third … How do you pick the best members for your HOT teams?

Abbot and Costello’s classic baseball comedy routine, “Who’s On First?” never gets old. Abbot warns Costello that if he joins his baseball team, he should be aware that baseball players today have very peculiar names.  “I’m telling you,” Abbot says, “Who’s on first, What’s on second, I Don’t Know is on third—“

Costello interrupts with a question. “You know the fellows’ names?”

Yes, Abbot replies. “Well, then,” Costello asks, “Who’s playing first?”

“Yes,” Abbot replies. And so the argument begins.

So who should you add first to your HOT team? Second? Third?  Who will fill out the cross-pollinating positions?

At Pitsco, we believe in teams. But we have found over the years that it makes a difference how you select who’s on first.

Here are a few The HOT Plan™  guidelines for putting together a winning interdepartmental team:

  1. Skills are important, but don’t overemphasize them in team member selection.

While skills are a consideration, other aspects – complementary perspectives, personality types, eagerness to participate and creative thinking – are equally important.

  1. Limit team members to active membership on no more than three teams.

Every team assignment adds responsibilities to your employees’ workload. I learned while coaching the Weleetka track team that you can loose good people by asking too much of them. Yet there is a balance to this; overlapping team members often strengthen the company. Shared members help cross-pollinate ideas across the organization. Some people are bridge builders by nature and by serving on more than one team build interdepartmental connections. Multiple team memberships can be a great asset to individual growth as well, but make sure no one is overloaded.

  1. Limit team size to no more than 10 people.

This rule might have to be fudged from time to time, but the advantages of smaller teams are many. I personally think teams of seven or eight are the most dynamic.

  1. Aim for gender diversity on the team.

Diversity in gender is valuable on HOT teams. A strong gender mix is a frequently overlooked aspect of team building and should be consciously addressed. The varying perspectives in this mix inevitably lead to far better dialogue and superior solutions.

The key to making The HOT Plan™ work for you is teamwork. As I learned in my years coaching, building a high-performance team takes time, energy, and commitment. But nothing can drive your company forward like the synergy of your team members targeting a shared goal.

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