The Queen’s Square: An Operational Framework for Empowering Your Team

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The game of chess is an amazing display of a sequence of calculated decisions. The most powerful piece “The Queen”, is the motivation for this article. As I played the game of chess, I learned how the Queen follows the opening and contributes to the game plan. She not only owns the game, but she also leads it.

During our growth phase at Adtech, I was thinking about a mental model or a thought model for onboarding new team members and existing team members to new roles.

The purpose was extremely clear, “How do we set them up for success?”

With this motive in mind, we conceptualized the thought model, “The Queen’s Square”

Below are the phases we would employ for a team member in a new role:

Follow Phase:

In the 1st phase of the model, the team member (she) is introduced to the key resources in the team and clear expectations are set. The problem on hand that we are trying to solve is defined.

Whom does she follow to get an understanding of the details of the role?

This ideally happens over 1-2 weeks.

Simply put, the goal is to get an understanding of ‘what problem are we trying to solve and how are we solving it now?’

Contribute Phase:

She now takes on tasks, works with the other team members, and is part of the delivery, understanding the nuances of the delivery and the quality aspects of it. This will help her to get an idea of how to meet the existing quality bar, what the key results are, and how they are measured. This phase lasts for 3-5 months.

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This particular phase gives clarity to the individual on ‘what problems or part of the problem I need to solve?”

Own Phase:

In this phase, the individual can bring her excellence to work. How can she own the system and start identifying and defining the problems that need to be solved? After defining the problems and exercising a choice of ‘what problems she wants to solve?’ How well she can challenge herself in solving tougher problems? Can she take ownership of the deliverables and process and get on a roll with it?

This phase lasts for about 8-14 months.

Lead Phase

This is the phase that questions, ‘How do I solve bigger problems?’ The individual gears herself up for challenges and seeks out challenges from the customers or the market. She is now positioned to lead individuals who are in the previous phases and craft solutions. The goals at this stage also involves setting up others for success as the other team members are currently in the Follow, Contribute and Own phase.

This phase lasts for about 16-24 months and then she is ready for the next level in the organization.

The beauty of mental models or thought models is extraordinary. What you tell yourself and the signal that it sends to your brain changes the way things work dramatically. Read this post from Vikram Sathaye on how a thought process change made one of the best all-rounders of Indian Cricket Ravindra Jadeja an even better player. Telling yourself what to do explicitly makes a whole lot of a difference and we bring those questions to our team members to do the same, hence enabling them to set up the team and the organization for success.

Adi Mopidevi is a problem solver at heart and an entrepreneur by profession. He is the man primarily responsible for defining the company’s technology roadmap and driving seamless execution across all of Adtech’s projects by employing a mindset of product centricity to his craft. Adi is the CTO of Adtech and has played a huge part in the company’s continued success. Apart from all this, he complements his professional life by being a writer and a passionate cricketer.

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