Teamwork under Pressure - Far East
Having excellent team members does not guarantee a great team, and the ability to mould successful teams is obviously crucial in business today (any size team from 3 people to 30 000!)
... perhaps the best place to go to in order to understand team building is sport, where teamwork can be built and destroyed in months if not weeks – how often have you seen a new leader/coach arrive and within weeks the same players are performing way above their recent level... and vice versa, an internal squabble results in disharmony and all of a sudden this excellent team can’t get a decent result!
Using great football teams such as Barcelona and Manchester United, I will outline the basic structure for producing top class teams in any form of business
So, the Take Away Challenge is summed up in the word... SAVE
Share: Who your are with others and let them share too – this creates a feeling of TRUST
Agreed Goals: Then stretch them - listen to everyone’s views – this will lead to EFFECTIVENESS
Valued Responsibility: Allow scope and value team members ability to add value and be ACCOUNTABLE
Egoless team members: Use words that put the team first, and celebrate successful history
The first of 4 points is TRUST, and one of the best book written in recent times on this topic is the book "the 5 dysfunctions of a team" by Patrick Lencioni… in it he says that...
If there is no Trust then there is no foundation for debate and discussion - you won't feel like being truthful or even vulnerable because you don't trust those around you not to take advantage of the you and the situation for their own benefit – so the first step for any leader is to create a culture of trust and the suggestion is to SHARE your weaknesses and strengths to the entire team/group, and this will build understanding and trust - Once the leader has built this culture of trust, then it’s possible to have conflict... without conflict, there would only be boring meetings leading to anger and residual resentment at lack of solution to problems…and ultimately to manipulation by team members who fear that success if not going to happen… however trust leads to open discussion and optimisation of solutions and also being not afraid to fail…
Once you have trust and healthy conflict, then you need commitment - this doesn’t mean that you have to agree with all the decisions taken by the group, but it does mean your opinion has to be heard… then you should be able to support the group decision and commit to it’s outcome.
To be effective the team needs to focus on Collective Goals… and to reward such behaviour - if for example you give football players bonuses for scoring, then they will score plenty but probably concede even more and lose the game!... so clearly it’s important to have agreed and collective goals that provide the desired long term outcome.
Once those goals have been achieved, then stretch the target even further – when Sir Alex Ferguson joined Manchester United in 1986, he made beating Liverpool (most successful team in England at the time) his main aim – in 2011 he took Man Utd to their 19th league title (1 more than Liverpool), and after losing to Barcelona in the European champions final, he immediately made being better than Barcelona his new target!
So don’t be afraid to stretch your targets higher and higher.
Now that the team’s goals have been agreed, each person has to have a clear responsibility and being accountable to that outcome. You don’t want to limit what that team member can achieve, so allow some scope for free thinking and empower everyone so that they can achieve these goals... this is what I call Valued Responsibility... where you value the team members ability to think for themselves within the limit of their responsibility.
There is no better proof in sport of the power of bringing all these teamwork skills together than the current success of 2 teams whose Mantra is all about teamwork – Barcelona and Manchester United. It could easily be argued that Chelsea and Manchester City have better individual players than Man utd, and the same for Real Madrid when compared to Barca, but the team’s that won their own leagues and featured in the European champions league final were the 2 best TEAMS – and the culture at Barca and Man Utd is always about putting the team first!!
Finally the team now need to build their motivation in order to put their new thinking into practice and ensure they meet their clearly defined targets.
There are 2 possible team drivers – internal (intrinsic) or external (extrinsic) - normally extrinsic revolves around what your ego wants whereas intrinsic is about what makes you feel good... and that is helping the team.
So in order to create egoless teams, look at each individual’s approach to the team and bring in words that create the culture of low ego. When we change words we not only change the eventual outcome, but it also works back to the beginning and changes our intentions – and so the habit of egoless teams is formed.
Then to cement this approach, create a winning culture by celebrating the history of the company – remember previous successes and celebrate them – this will help enhance the focus on being more successful and so achieve the collective goals.
I challenge you to build your team around these concepts and you will certainly see improved team performance and results