Productive teams have clearly defined roles

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I learned a metaphor for teams without defined roles when I played volleyball back in the day. Hear me out.

There’s a slang term called the “hubby/wife serve” or “campfire” serve. The idea is to put the serve exactly between two players on the other team. Both players think the other will get it…so no one gets it.

I see this happen when I consult companies that haven’t been holding productive meetings.

If teams don’t have clearly defined roles, you’ll lose points, bump heads, and nurse bruised egos. You may even lose the game.

Here are a few tips to create a productive team environment:

  1. Schedule a meeting to discuss a new project.
  2. Create a list that defines who is responsible for each task.
  3. Use the list as a guide with the understanding that it’s okay to ask for help.

You’ll work better together with a clear plan of action, and you’ll be more focused, too.

How do you stay productive when working as a team?


Meetings with no clear end leave room for distraction and inaction. Learn more ways to ensure every meeting is productive in Dave’s course, “Leading Productive Meetings,” on LinkedIn Learning.

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