Achieving Synergy - Displaying items by tag: teams
Have you ever reached a point in communication where things are just bad, to put it mildly? Despite our best intentions, communication can break down. If issues are not rectified, trust and relationships deteriorate to the point where people—good people—become antagonistic and aggressive in their communication. This happens in personal lives, and it happens at work.
A number of years ago, I was called in to help a client. The client was a large resources company here in Perth that worked closely with external service providers. At that time, a lot of work in the industry was being completed by external service providers, so the operating company needed to work extremely closely with external organisations on a daily basis. And, they needed efficient, effective, deep, and healthy communication for this to be a success. In this instance, the communication was failing in all areas and project disaster was a very real and rapidly approaching possibility. Read on to discover how we worked through the conflict and got the team on track to success.
I’m sure I don’t need to espouse the benefits of learning and knowledge here—we all know that we need to continuously learn and grow to stay relevant and be successful in life (not to mention the intrinsic joy to be had in the process of learning). What we all potentially need reminding of though, particularly in this era of tweets and listicles, is that long-form written works, books, are key in developing a deeper understanding. There are so many books that I love, that I had difficulty in keeping it to ten. Read on if you are serious about leading and developing a high-performing team. In no particular order...
Teams are dynamic. People change and team members come and go whether by design or unexpectedly. The focus and purpose of a team can change, particularly when working on projects as they move through phases from design to implementation and operations. Additionally, teams will go through different stages of development, or a lifecycle. Each of these shifts necessitates a mindset and a skill change for the team as a whole and the individuals who compose it.
Perhaps the most popular of team models is Tuckman’s Forming-Storming-Norming and Performing model, and the more recent addition of a fifth stage of Adjourning, Transforming, or Mourning. As a high-level concept, the model is fantastic, but in this post we’ll focus on a more detailed lifecycle that is more appropriate in a workplace increasingly dominated by projects. Read on for a handy infographic that you can use to analyse your team's current needs and what you should be focusing on as a leader.
As much as our culture may romanticise the idea of the lone-wolf, humans are social creatures and we have always worked in teams. Teams bring massive value to our work, and are becoming more important and prominent in the contemporary workforce. Aside from the benefit of simply having more people working on the job, teams bring benefits through the mixing of ideas, talent and skills. The discussions that arise from contrasting ideas lead to synergy and better outcomes.
Leading organisations are already seeking to improve diversity in their workforce. Often though, these good intentions are implemented in ways that leave a lot to be desired...
Culture is a collection of beliefs, behaviours, and states of being that are held by a group of people at a particular time. It is often described as “how we do things around here”. It exists on multiple levels, from small groups such as teams or families, through to broader groups such as social classes, national cultures, or pan-national cultures. It is complex, messy, and near impossible to design and create in an orderly way.
That said, culture is integral to the performance and operations of a team, and it can be changed to improve team performance. The key question is ‘how’. Before we get to the how, however, we need to understand the ‘what’ and ‘why’.
Are you clear on where you are heading? Is everyone in your team clear on where you are going? Do you and your team understand why you are doing the work you are doing?
Planning is key to knowing what you have coming up and being able to make informed decisions on how and where you spend your time, energy, and resources. Making sure that you align your work with organisations strategies and missions means your work has purpose; aligning your work with your long-term career and personal goals will help ensure you stay motivated and driven to succeeding in what you do.
A Financial Institution required their existing IT system to be reviewed and updated for future needs. It was a major capital project, with project team members being drawn from a range of functional areas. The team was not a natural team as they had to operate within their operational and project roles concurrently.
Problem: The team needed to form and problem solve quickly.
Plus quickly gain support from a variety of company stakeholders. Once the current situation and problem was understood the team needed to develop practical recommendations.
Action: HBDI and Whole Brain thinking framework was used.
Results: Team members got to know and understand one another swiftly.
Quickly formed cohesive and highly productive team. Highly useful framework which could be used in a variety of contexts. WBT allowed for influence upwards, directly resulted in the acceptance of their recommendations. 98% of recommendations were accepted by the board. The project team stated that ”no other team had so many recommendations accepted by the Board.”
Teams are funny things: they enable us to create synergies where we produce far more than the sum of our parts, but they can often be the source of conflict, bureaucracy and pointless discussions. As the vast majority of today’s work is carried out in teams, it’s worthwhile making sure that the conversations you are having with your team are valuable, efficient and effective.
No matter your role or your industry, the chances are you work in teams. Even those individuals that we hold up as mavericks and independent trailblazers have support network around them, people that they work with, people that challenge their ideas, people that act as sounding boards, and people that offer advice. The success of humanity is largely a result of being able to work together and achieve far more than we ever would as individuals.