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Teamwork Part 2: Reliability


Your team may have a powerful engine (like a Ferrari) but if all the parts aren’t working together (like that flat tire in the picture) the team struggles go anywhere.

The teamwork concept we're talking about is reliability! Each member of the team embraces Do What You Say You Will Do (DWYSYWD)! Our behaviors provide the evidence of our authentic intentions and these display our trustworthiness to others.

Diagnose Dependability

What is the most important contribution you can make to the performance of this team or organization?

Your answer will likely come from as aspect of something you value AND the thing you consistently show up for. Misalignment of assigned responsibilities and/or unique contributions often causes underperformance. When we experience disengagement from team members it can be a sign they are being assigned duties they aren't gifted or trained to do (and may identify skill gaps).

Google's "Project Aristotle" Action Items

  • Clarify roles & responsibilities of all team members
  • Evaluate skills-based training programs
  • Consider which behavior(s) your people/leaders need training on
  • For each missed deadline, determine whether it was a system or process failure or behaviors within the team

Team members are much more than a spot or title on an organizational chart. They each have unique talents and gifts to offer the team. Getting clarity on the combination of these through clear communication makes the team efficient and more effective.

Awareness of the skills needed to lead in our dynamic work environment takes training. Intentional building of skills that support truly human leadership.

Showing one another how we're reliable is a great step toward building a healthy team. Nobody on the team wants to be the “flat tire” on the team, they want to get to a meaningful place together!

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The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Ag Extension (funding opportunity no. USDA-NIFA-OP-010186), grant no. 2023-41595-41325 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the Extension Foundation. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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