Monday, September 19, 2011
How to build the world's best teams
There are no great companies, only great teams.Your products can be copied, your strategy too. What customers value in the long-run is the level of service and innovation your teams provide. And the more great teams you have, the stronger your organization will be. It's that simple.
What isn't simple is how to cultivate breakthrough teamwork. How do you get people to work together effectively?
For the past few decades researchers have buried themselves in research that reveals the drivers of human performance. They even commissioned a 350,000-person study to measure the characteristics of the most productive teams. Here are just a few findings that might change the way you think about your work teams:
Great teams have a clear cause. The great teams studied all had a noble cause, and more than that, they had extreme clarity about that cause. When they asked 10 people on a great team to list their raison d'être, all 10 used identical distinctive language, such as, "We will be the hospital of choice in Dallas by making raving fans of our patients and their families." How would your team fare with this exercise?
Effective teams foster caring. Engaged employees, who care about the organization, are happy to pick up extra shifts, own problems, be creative, and so on. In fact, the research shows that the number of engaged employees in your organization increases by a whopping 17 percent when people feel they are part of a motivating team, receive regular peer-to-peer recognition, and understand how their team impacts the larger organization.
Great teams have rules. The most productive teams live by a set of rules, and they hold each member accountable for honoring those rules. They have culled the various down into the three most common: Wow, No Surprises and Cheer. In short, great teams commit to being world-class with every interaction with clients and each other; they believe in open communication with a commitment to not surprising each other or customers; and they agree to cheer for each other with a healthy dose of recognition for great work.
Here's one teamwork exercise: Ask yourself the following questions about your team. And then ask these questions of your team members. They can reveal your team's potential for breakthrough results and where you are finding resistance.
Who on our team can't you cheer for (and why)?
Who do you feel isn't cheering for you on our team?
Yes, these questions may lead to some tough conversations among your team members. But no team can perform together if they aren't cheering for each other.
By Adrian Gostick & Chester Elton