Daily Encounters With Imperceptible Teamwork Excellence

Team Building

executive teamwork, executive consulting orange county, execuquestThis week, on a return trip from Mexico, I was sitting in the Centurion Club Lounge at the Benito Juarez Airport and I had the opportunity to witness what I would call, “my daily encounter with imperceptible teamwork excellence.”

As I was waiting in the lounge before my departure, I ordered a bottle of soda water which, within about a minute, was brought to me with a separate glass of ice. The waiter proceeded to pour the soda water into the glass, and then asked me if I would care for some snacks. I responded with a nod of acknowledgment and, immediately, another waiter showed up with a plate of spicy peanuts (my favorite snack). I took a sip of the soda water and went back to focusing my attention on my emails. Without noticing, I turned my tablet in such a way that I knocked over and broke the glass, and water quickly started to spread across the table. In a matter of seconds, and before I was even able to react, there was a waiter with a cloth scooping up the water and pieces of broken glass into a tray which was being held at the edge of the table by another waiter. And all the while this was taking place, a third waiter had served me with a new bottle of soda water and a fresh glass of ice.

The whole experience took less than a minute and what struck me as so impressive was that there was no verbal communication between the three waiters. They were all just focused on me—their guest—and, at the same time, taking cues from each other’s behavior in order to do whatever was necessary to take care of the incident. As I was leaving the lounge, I said to one of the waiters, in Spanish, “buen trabajo de equipo” (good teamwork). He smiled and said, “estamos aqui para servirlo y para apoyarnos unos a otros” (we are here to serve you and to support each other).

As I reflect upon this experience, I believe that if we can identify and acknowledge this kind of teamwork excellence, we can learn from it and use what we have learned to foster effective teamwork within the organizations where we work.

If you have had a similar “daily encounter with imperceptible teamwork excellence,” please share it with us.


Related Posts

  • symmetrical reciprocity, executive coaching orange county


AlejandraJ - January 30, 2014

A simple story, with such a deep lesson. So often, we think about teamwork in terms of results, but strong relationships are the foundation upon which the work gets done. Thank you for sharing!

ExecuQuest - January 31, 2014


Thank you so much for your comment. As you mentioned, strong relationships are “core” to effective teamwork without diminishing the importance of having a common goal. In this particular case, the common goal is the metrics around customer service and customer satisfaction. Again, thank you for your thoughtful comment.


Leon - January 29, 2014

Thanks for sharing your experience. This is a great example of customer service. If we could just focus on the positive behaviors and acknowledge them constantly, performers will show more interest in their jobs, will show passion, and will deliver results. Ultimately, we are in this world to serve each other’s needs.
Congratulations for your blog.

ExecuQuest - January 31, 2014


Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I agree with you and this raises the issue of our tendency to only notice and complain when our expectations for good customer service are not met. All too often, we take good customer service for granted and do not recognize or acknowledge it. If we all paid attention and took the time to recognize the effectiveness of a team’s work, it may foster even greater team performance.


Comments are closed.