From tee-ball to backyard football, some of my earliest and fondest memories center around the dynamics of team. Tracking forward and reflecting upon nearly 5 decades of this reality, I have had the opportunity to play and serve on countless numbers of teams. Some were very good, while others I would classify as marvelous discipline-shaping endeavors.
Many articles have been written about what takes a team, either in sports or in business, from good to great. As a student of the art and science of teams since the late 1980’s, here are the truths that stand out clearly from my experience and study
They Problem Solve Effectively – High-performing teams have an incredible ability to transform conflict into value.
- What consistent vocabulary and language does your organization have “readied” to effectively problem solve?
- How competent are the leaders in your organization to leverage tools in framing and solving problems
They Are Clear and Committed – Is everyone on the same page? Are we clear and committed to the tasks it will take to get us to our vision? Great teams set individual goals aside for the benefit of the greater good.
- Does your team know the way to win and have the plan to execute?
- Does your team acknowledge and accept the direct consequences (positive and negative) that their actions will have on the team and the organization?
They Are Collectively Accountable to Results – When teams have a high bar they are working to collectively reach, the barriers between individuals seem to thin.
- Does your team think of initiatives as “our work,” or So-and-So’s project?
- Would your team’s attitude be more like business owners or divisional managers?
- Are your organizational goals developed to incentivize teams or individuals?
They Are Transparent Communicators – In times of plenty and in challenge, great teams calibrate support and shared truth equally.
- Does your team communicate in ways that make it more effective and efficient for goal attainment?
- Do your team members have the relational capital to speak the truth in love?
- Is authentic communication frequent or reserved only for the quarterly retreat?
- Do you and your teammates have access to the information to make reliable decisions?
They Trust – Great teams have mutual respect for each other and strong camaraderie. Central to all high-performing teams is the foundation of trust. For that to happen, teams must know and respect each other well.
- Do your team members feel they can be open and candid with the truth, while maintaining respect for each individual?
- What intentional efforts are invested to allow team members to build and foster authentic relationships?