As the business world becomes increasingly competitive, the issues it faces are increasingly complex. Organizations can no longer depend on hierarchical structures and a few peak performers to maintain a competitive advantage.
Leading with teams is the best approach in today’s business environment. Working effectively, a team can make better decisions, solve more complex problems, and do more to enhance creativity and build skills than individuals working alone.
Building highly effective teams, like building great organizations, begins with a picture of what you are aiming for—a target. The journey to a high-performance team begins with understanding its characteristics. By benchmarking your team in each of the following four areas, you can identify where you need to focus for team development:
- Align for Results: Clarify team purpose, define goals, define roles, and agree on behavioral norms.
- Perform Under Pressure: Embrace and address conflict, invite self-expression, encourage candor, and listen with curiosity.
- Develop Team Cohesion: Work collaboratively, promote accountability, build trusting relationships, and appreciate each other’s contributions.
- Sustain High Performance: Demonstrate unity, share leadership, adapt to change, and accept greater challenges.
The Power of Teams
When faced with pressure or complexity, leaders must acknowledge that it is often the actions and skills of many, as opposed to those of one person, that make a complicated procedure successful. Today’s complex work can no longer be left to a lone hero’s expertise; we need high-performance teams working together to achieve results.
When teams function well, miracles can happen. A thrilling and inspiring example of a high-performance team is the 1980 United States Olympic hockey team. Twenty young men—many of whom had never played together before—came from colleges all over the country. Six months later they won the Olympic gold medal, defeating the best teams in the world—including the Soviet Union, a team that had been playing together for years.
Or think about the Hudson River plane crash in 2009, when Captain Sullenberger, First Officer Jeffrey Skiles, and the rest of the flight crew worked together to land the plane safely under dire circumstances, saving all the lives aboard.
Whether it’s a medical team of surgeons, anesthetists, and nurses all working together and using their individual specialties as a team to save lives—or a team of tech wizards collaborating on a new software that changes the world we live in—humans can achieve great things when they work effectively as teams. And just like individuals, teams require training and support to develop effectively.
About the AuthorMore Content by Ken Blanchard