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 a 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.