Contributor: Kari Heistad, Culture Coach International
Born in Surinam (Dutch Guiana), Jan Ernst Matzeliger arrived in the United States in 1854. Hearing of the growth of the shoe industry, he moved to Massachusetts, learned English, and became an apprentice in a shoe factory. Back then, the bottleneck in making shoes was the final assembly which was still done by hand.
Matzeiler created a machine that could assemble shoes and thus improved shoe production by 900%. His invention cut the cost of shoes by more than half. An immigrant was able to come to the United States and succeed, where previous efforts by the shoe industry had failed, due to his different point of view when examining the problem.
When working on teams, having a different point of view can provide powerful insight, if people feel respected enough to share that idea. If the team lacks respect for individuals then great ideas won’t be shared. Being respectful of others’ points of view is the first step to developing powerful teams.
Action Step: Explore how being different can provide new insights into problems and situations.
- What different points of view to we need to help solve current problems?
- How can we gain a different perspective on our current challenges?
- Can we switch up team members for an assignment to gain a different perspective?
- What team meeting techniques can we use to ensure we are hearing all voices and perspectives? (e.g. each person can speak only 3 times, everyone must before someone can speak a second time etc.)