87plus Blog

When Team Members Don't "Get It"

[fa icon="calendar"] November 22, 2016 at 8:00 AM / by Don Tinney

Don Tinney


The best basketball players in the league get it. The original Dream Team’s Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird come to mind. They understand the game so intuitively, it’s second nature to them. They make playing seem effortless.

In my article on building your business dream team, I stated that you must have players who passionately share your vision and have the skills to help your business win consistently. Your players must get it, want it, and have the capacity (GWC™ in Traction terms) to consistently deliver what their position on the team requires.

So what does “get it” really mean?

Not Everyone Gets It

The definition of "get it" from Traction is simple:

“Get It simply means that they truly understand their role, the culture, the systems, the pace and how the job comes together.”

And not everyone on your team gets it. You probably already have a sense of who these players are by the amount of direction and supervision they require.

Let’s break this down further into three things to watch for – three measures for getting it:

Understanding the Why

People who get it understand fully that what they do matters to the team. They get how their work fits into and complements the whole: the culture, core focus and processes, and achieving the big company goal. Compare it to when a basketball player passes the ball well, sets picks, draws defense away from teammates, etc. He or she understands the Why behind what they do without a lot of explanation.

Mastery of Their Position

They understand how to do their work well and produce the desired outcome consistently. This team member demonstrates efficiency and mastery to a level that would be considered craftsmanship. They also know what to measure to assure that mastery and rely on those measurables to maximize their performance. It’s like the player who understands that getting too many fouls early in a game will jeopardize his overall performance and winning the game.

Problem Solver

When issues arise in their functional part of the business, they know how to resolve them. If they don’t already know the answer, they know what to do to find the answer. Someone who doesn’t understand how to solve their problems will continually get stuck and be waiting for someone to give them direction—dramatically slowing progress.

Leaders Who Don't Get It

Someone who truly gets it will often be good at seeing opportunities for improving their functional part of the business. That's a particularly important point for players in leadership seats. Pay attention to leaders who are silent when the team is solving issues in a meeting. They might not be able to see or uncover the root causes of issues and propose viable ways to resolve them. They rarely or never offer ideas, suggestions, or solutions during discussion, which is usually a clear sign they don't get it.

Missing_The_Target.jpgAn all too common example is that of the sales leader who comes back quarter after quarter with poor numbers but no solutions to improve them. Keep in mind, there is nothing wrong with not having the answer in the moment. But they must have the desire and know-how to find a solution.

Actions for This Week

On your next Clarity Break™, do a thorough evaluation of your direct reports against the three measures of how fully they get their position.

Set a plan for moving any team members who don’t get it either off the team or to a position they do get. Read this article about pruning back for growth. If you want to win your championship as defined in your V/TO, you must have players who get it!


Topics: GWC, Teamwork

Don Tinney

Written by Don Tinney

Gino Wickman was the EOS creator/founder and the first EOS Implementer in the world. Don was the second with now more than ten years of experience implementing EOS with business leadership teams across the United States and across several industries.