What’s the best team you’ve ever been part of?
You can think about this question in the broadest meaning. Not just business teams, sports teams, and perhaps a team of friends or family at home.
I classify people ‘working’ together as teamwork.
I often ask this question as an introduction to teamwork.
It’s an excellent question because, almost always, people have been part of a great team at some point in their lives.
People can easily imagine the qualities of that team. Plus, it’s a non-threatening question, which always allows for great conversation.
Last week I asked the question of a group of managers.
Here are some of the answers:
“We fully trusted each other”
“Roles were crystal clear.”
“We liked working together and had fun.”
“We were crystal clear where we were going”
“Most of us were leading the team at some point.”
“We had each other’s back.”
“We gave each other instant and constructive feedback.”
“We communicated well and made sure there were no surprised”
Sounds good, right?
How does your team score on these elements?
When we translate these elements into concrete actions leaders can take to build high-performing teams, here’s what they do:
- They understand that there’s always context. They don’t let context manage them; they manage their context as much as possible.
- They connect at a deeper level. To them, trust is not just an abstract concept. They invest in trust by actively working on the relationship. They give individual meaning to shared values. Ego’s are checked at the door.
- They ensure there’s clarity on direction. Vision, strategy, goals, and priorities are all developed in lockstep. Once agreed, the direction stands until there’s collective alignment to change course.
- They align themselves frequently. The trust they have built allows for conflict and disagreement, but in the end, there’s always alignment before execution.
- They demonstrate ownership at both an individual and a collective level. Commitments are kept, feedback is frequent, and mistakes are considered learning moments.
As a consequence, the team grows in concert, which can be attributed to these two outcomes of their efforts:
- The quality of the connection increases, resulting in higher levels of trust among team members.
- The alignment of direction results in increased and sustainable levels of energy.
I often ask why some teams make it to these levels, and others don’t.
Time and mindset.
Investments in a high-performing team require time (and money). There are simply no shortcuts. If you want to build a high-performing team, you need to spend time together.
The other prerequisite is a team mindset.
It’s all about the team and less about the individuals. The team can succeed if the entire team agrees that team objectives trump individual objectives (and egos).
Otherwise, forget it!
Again, there are no shortcuts. And it all depends on whether you want to be part of a champions league team or muddle through mediocrity.
What do you think your employees and customers deserve?
Your turn: How’s your team performing?
Do more of what makes you happy!
What are you waiting for?
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