We have all experienced it. You bring a group of highly talented people together in a team and nothing happens. Well, nothing productive anyway.
Building a world class team involves a lot more than simply getting people together. There are so many examples of this, from sport, to theatre, to business.
Julia Rozovsky, for example, in her article Google’s Project Aristotle team effectiveness initiative, describes her team’s challenges. “Everyone was smart and curious, and they had a lot in common,” the article notes, but for Rozovsky, it was a stressful dynamic, filled with conflict, criticism, and jockeying for position.
This is not necessarily true of every team. We have all experienced great teams as well. Teams where people cooperate, work together and achieve amazing things.
In business, you cannot afford to leave this to chance. You have to be ‘intentional’ about the way you build teams.
Here are some key questions to ask to help you get more intentional about your team process:
- How do different people on the team prefer to think? This will affect how they communicate, behave and approach work.
- How does the diversity of thought on the team contribute to team outcomes and objectives?
- How can we leverage that diversity of thought to move from conflict to “creative contention”?
- What does the team’s thinking look like as a whole? Consider the similarities, differences, strengths, gaps, areas of alignment and misalignment, and how the team’s thinking changes under pressure.
- What process flow will be most effective for the team to help it work efficiently and productively?
- Do we have a supportive team climate, including a facilitator/leader who can bridge the gaps and ensure the diverse thinking is respected, managed, heard and applied?
Get intentional—the earlier in the process, the better. Yes, there’s an upfront investment of time, but you’ll avoid wasting a lot of time—and talent—in the long run.
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