When Teams are Fractured

This past week has been an interesting case study on the impact of team dynamics on the ability of that team’s ability to achieve optimum outcomes.

I was speaking with a potential client on the challenges they are facing.  What bubbled to the surface was high turnover, poor communication, and a lack of perceived value in what they do.  From the outside, this group offers amazing value that has the potential to have a significant impact throughout the organization and beyond yet internally they lack the culture to clearly recognize and reveal their value.  This results in fractures between the team.

Later in the week I heard a discussion on the radio in response to two statements made by members of the Vancouver Canucks hockey team.  When some players dedicate themselves to a solid preparation routine and others don’t, performance suffers and cracks show.

What do you think?   Is there a real connection  between the ability of a team to work toward a common goal and preparation, communication and perceived value?

My response to this question is definitely YES.

Preparation is a critical component to long term success.  In the case of athletes, they create routines for practice days as well as competition/game days.  These routines prepare them to be in top condition, to have the right mindset and to dig deep and deliver their best when it counts.  In the business world, preparation can include having the right mindset, knowing the subject matter, having the right tools to do the job when called upon, or showing up prepared to work.

Teams, whether in sport or in business, have the challenge of pulling together several individuals into one cohesive unit.  When team members change, fail to get the job done as planned, or when communication breaks down, the team can experience setbacks, lost productivity, lost confidence and in some instances, a loss of trust.

The ultimate goal is to be a high performance team where each member of the team is valued and trusted to do what it takes to bring their best to the job.  They know their role, and are committed to contributing to the goal.  Leadership is more fluid – shifting as needed to drive results.  Productivity is high and the culture is strong and cohesive.

What steps can you take with your team to build a strong culture where every team member is valued equally and results reflect the great environment?

 

Ignite Leadership is committed to turning dysfunctional or challenged workplaces into one that is built on trust, strong leadership, effective communication, good processes and systems and positive team dynamics.   How can we assist you and your team?   Book a call to explore options.

 

Building Team Focus

I’ve written before about how important it is for a team to have a common focus in order to be successful.  This is one area where diversity of though is not good.

 The way a team plays as a whole determines its success.  You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.  — Babe Ruth

Once a team culture is created it can be a challenge to change, yet it is possible to improve it.  In their book, The Discipline of Teams, Katzenback and Smith stated, “teams have four elements—common commitment and purpose, performance goals, complementary skills, and mutual accountability.”

Does your team have a common commitment and purpose?  If not, you have a group of individuals not a team.   Teams are link jigsaw puzzles, they fit together and interlock to create the bigger picture.  One broken or missing piece leaves aConnected team-StuartMiles_ID-100146283 gap.

High performance teams adopt the four elements of a team.  They come together for a common purpose, remain focused on that purpose as a collective.   As a leader of a team, your role is to help every team member identify the
key purpose and operating principles of the team.

  • Why is the team together?
  • What is the purpose of the team?
  • Who is responsible for what tasks and actions?
  • How will the collective results create a positive impact on the organization?

 

Aim higher. Stay focused.  — Brandon Adams

The vision and operating principles are created by the group as a first step in achieving a common focus and commitment from each member of the team.

Secondly, high performing teams revisit their operating principles regularly.  Are they still applicable.  What, if any, changes are needed and why?   When changes are needed, its important to understand why the changes are needed.

Lastly, it is important for each member of the team to be held accountable to the operating principles.  As discussed in the post “One Bad Apple – Can One Person Impact a Team” when a team member goes rogue, the focus and productivity of the entire team can be negatively impacted.

A point for Team Leads

If your team cannot see how their efforts are helping the entire organization and how working together is good for each individual as well as the team, there is work to be done to build a high performance team.  Consider a dedicated meeting to address the differences, gaps and challenges, identify solutions and celebrate what’s working well.  Team leader trust and transparency can make all the difference in this process.  You must also demonstrate you are on the same page with your team, supportive and willing to pitch in.  Remember, great leaders lead by example.

Is your team focus waivering?  We can help you be a better leader, build trust and engagement through focused conversations, leadership coaching and training.  Ask us how one of our solutions could benefit your team. 

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