Expect to Encounter Setbacks

My father taught me to ‘plan for the worst, hope for the best, but take what comes’. Only a fool goes into a business issue, an acquisition, a restructuring, and so on, expecting a smooth ride. Business life just isn’t like that.

Having realistic expectations and planning to encounter setbacks means that the business adventurer is far more likely to succeed in his venture. This is particularly relevant when dealing with change. People will come up with very good reasons why the status should be retained.

These should be expected and, rather than taking a top-down authoritarian approach, the wise business adventurer will recognise that this is something he anticipated, with the result that he will take the time and make the effort to communicate and explain the reasons behind the decision, thereby ensuring that barriers are removed, and progress is made.

To get over setbacks you need two things: confidence and courage. Confidence is like one of those perfumes that react differently with each individuals body chemistry to produce something unique. The only point on which everyone agrees is that without confidence, nothing happens. Not every act and decision you make will be supported 100 per cent. In fact, there will be times as a business adventurer that you may feel very alone. Courage is integral to leadership because it is what keeps you moving forward on your plan and direction.

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Laying the Foundation for Team Success

In my experience, the most successful teams invest time in laying the foundation to create a common framework for everyone. This foundation supports the team infrastructure and team dynamics and its called the Team Charter. The Team Charter provides a simple framework which articulates how a team is to operate and generates freedom of space to allow for initiative and decentralised control - particularly effective for virtual or dispersed teams.

Initially it can be drawn up by the team leader, but should be regularly reviewed in order to reflect accurately how your team goes about its business. The main headings should look to include the following:

Team Vision
Team Values
Team Norms
Key Functional Areas
Communications Strategy

Here is an example of the Team Charter I had in place for my Polar Quest Expedition:

Team Vision
Polar Quest vision is to provide an opportunity for youth and serving members of the Naval service to join a major Polar Expedition and promote the spirit of adventure to inspire others to pursue adventurous and team based activities.

Team Values
Adventure Spirit, Commitment, Humour in Adversity, Mutual Trust, Versatility.

Team Norms
Monthly progress updates, minutes taken at all meetings, individuals hold themselves accountable for meeting agree commitments.

Member Roles
As per Terms of Reference

Key Function Areas
As per Terms of Reference.

Communication Strategy
Emails/Tel messages responded to within 48hrs, out of office notifications made, weekly conference call, emails to be sent to work/private emails.

Decision Making, Authority, Accountability
Expedition accountable to Higher Management Committee, individuals able to make decisions within understood boundaries within Terms of Reference, issues effecting policy are to be recommended at team level and presented to the Higher Management Committee, Expedition Leader to brief Higher Management Committee as requested.

Expenditure within pre-agreed quarterly budgets, core operations to be conducted from Expedition Headquarters, any additional resource requirements to be agreed at monthly team meeting.

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