Good morning dear reader & welcome to my world this week. Following my articles over the last three weeks on Relationships, Communications & Values I thought we could develop this a little further (again) with some comments on teams.
I always thought team was something you were on, not something you did. I always operated as though team was a noun, not a verb. I thought team was an object, not an objective. I saw team as a social assignment, not a strategic achievement.
Maybe this is because I have been part of some bad teams. I have been on some teams where the only thing making us a team is ironically, we happened to wear the same uniform or work in the same organization.
Over the last 45 years I have been on a wide variety of teams. Sometimes I have been a team member & at times I have been the team leader. I have been on some wonderful teams & I have served on some dysfunctional teams.
I have made mistakes & learnt a lot of hard lessons when it comes to team. Over the years I have come to the conviction, team is way more of a verb than a noun. Great teamwork requires hard work & focused intentionality. But the payoff is huge. If you have ever had the privilege of being on a healthy & high-performing team, you know it is a wonderful gift.
I have also come to realize, teamwork is more art than science. There is no one-size-fits-all formula for building great teams.
If we think of a team like a bucket. You need hoses to pump life & health into your team. But you also need hoses to carry life & energy & effort toward effectively performing your job & carrying out your mission & vision objectives.
Focusing on health of the team is like continuing to fill a bucket already full. You need outlets for being productive & accomplishing assignments. This is why the bullseye on the target of a great team is both health & high-performance.
I have a conviction you cannot have a truly great team without health AND high-performance. We need to be focused on the health of the team & we also need to be focused on the performance & productivity of the team. One without the other means I am not seeing the whole picture clearly.
For some of us, the dominant skill is building health. Our nature is to be caring & nurturing toward our teammates. We find it easy to shepherd our team, but we may find it hard to manage toward results. People who are wired this way do not have any trouble having a “caring conversation” but avoid like the plague having “courageous conversations”.
For others, organizational leadership comes easy. We are usually driven & achievement oriented. We love reading business books about leadership & we naturally drive toward results, but we may find it more challenging to provide personal care & development for those on our team. 1
It is my hope you will be committed to both developing & leading teams which are healthy, effective, & high-performing.
Here are some potential points for a high-performing team.
· Clear job description (People have a defined lane and run in their lane)
· Good time management
· Defining the win
· Ability to speak honestly
· Effective meetings
· Clear priorities and goals
· Resources and tools for doing the job
· Minimal organizational bureaucracy
· Supervisors who remove barriers
· Accountability for results
· Effective systems
· Ongoing performance evaluation
· Compelling vision
· Strong work ethic
· Good stewardship of resources
· Authority with responsibility (empowerment)
· Clear org structure
· Minimal distraction by social media and technology 2
I remember seeing the following quote on a poster.
“Never doubt a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
This my friends, is the potential power of a high-performing team.
Before you leave this article, I want to challenge you to grab a pen & a piece of paper. Of all the high-performing points listed above, write down the three most appropriate of the team (volunteer or paid) you work with. Next, write down the three which could use some improvement. You might want to do this exercise with your team & have a discussion about the productivity & performance of your team.
Thank you for taking the time to be with me once again. I hope my journey may encourage you also. This is Kenn Butler in Paradise, Nelson, with my best wishes for another week… I look forward to being with you all again soon.
1 Inspired Lance Witt
2 Lance Witt, the author of the book Replenish, which is dedicated to helping leaders live & lead from a healthy soul.