Today’s business world moves fast, changes often and is unpredictable, but many of our teams aren’t prepared for or capable of keeping pace and being nimble. Critically, many leaders are uncertain about what to do to enable their teams to keep up. Some even wonder if their teams can keep up.
On an intellectual level, most leaders understand that their teams need a common purpose, better communication, a shared sense of commitment, an environment of trust, accountability and so on, but they aren’t exactly sure what exactly that looks like in day-to-day practice. When teams aren’t performing project timelines slip, customers aren’t taken care of properly, quality of work declines and, ultimately, your business suffers.
Many of the most successful companies today are organised around teams rather than classic hierarchies. This focus on enabling the best possible context for group work to get done is a recognition that success in business is a team sport.
“No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.”
-Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn cofounder
And as is the case with high performance teams of athletes, these companies have learned what works and what doesn’t work, so they invest their energies and resources in specific ways of working together – practices, which they know drive performance. While much of what works for these apex performers can be difficult to apply in other companies, e.g. agile, human centered design, continuous improvement and development, etc., because it would require a complete business transformation, there are specific practices that can (and I would argue should) be brought into any group with immediate positive impact.
"53% is the average amount of time that Australian employees spend working in teams"
- the Oxford Review
And as is the case with high performance teams of athletes, these companies have learned what works and what doesn’t work. They invest their energies and resources in specific ways of working together (practices), which they know drive performance.
I've been working in, around and leading teams for thirty years (typing that makes me feel decrepit) and have been fortunate enough to have been mentored, coached and seen role-modelled some pretty amazing teams.