How to create a break-through, high-performance, super-charged team By James Mapes
My previous blog explored the value of creating a team model based on the makeup of a hologram. A short recap: What happens when a hologram is cut or divided or cut into a number of pieces? Amazingly, each piece contains the information of the whole from a slightly different perspective. This is the ideal metaphor for a super-charged team which. I call this model a Holographic Team.
In order to have each piece contain the information of the whole from a different perspective it is necessary to look at what barriers prevent the model from being effective.
Following are “7 Barriers to Successful Teamwork” and possible solutions to ensure the success of your holographic team.
- Lack of Vision.
A team must have a compelling purpose that appeals both emotionally and rationally to the members of the team. If the team lacks a vision, its members lack vision.
Therefore, a leader must have a strong, compelling vision. However, that vision must be flexible enough for team members to create ownership through developing their own vision. If you have made a unilateral decision that you insist on keeping, don’t waste your time forming a team.
- Lack of Commitment.
Many people think teams don’t make a difference except in times of trouble and unpredictable circumstance. Others think teams take up too much time, require too much maintenance, or slow up decision making. Still others believe in teams as a concept but assume teams function without support.
Teams fulfill their functions only in an environment of total commitment.
In order to create commitment, team members must know they make a difference. The group must be empowered to make things happen and see the results and be rewarded as a team for success. If team members don’t feel pride in their work, you will soon have a dysfunctional team or no team at all.
- Confusing Teams with Teamwork.
The words team and teamwork are often used interchangeably, but groups working together do not magically become a team. Some organizations think an annual convention will motivate the entire group to work together as a team, but an organization can never be a team. They can, however, practice teamwork. Teams and teamwork are vastly different.
Teamwork is a set of values adopted by a group. Teamwork encourages respect for the dignity of the individual, embraces diversity, and supports superior communication. Teamwork provides support, resources, and recognition. While these teamwork values are necessary to high-performance teams, they do not by themselves create a team.
- Lack of Training.
Self-directed, high-performance, and cross-functional teams require greater skills. People often get caught up in team-mania. They throw together a group of people and expect them to produce results. But teams require global thinking, systems thinking, change management, decision making, conflict resolution, problem solving, communication, and technology. Somebody has to provide training.
Consider job rotation. Rotating jobs balances the workload, stretches the learning curve, and breaks down tensions and barriers among members. The more often jobs are rotated, the better the team’s morale and the greater the productivity. Although there may be resistance to changing responsibilities, the pressure imposed on team members to learn new skills increases self-confidence and enhances the understanding of the system, process, and business. In effect, job rotation nurtures the creative spirit.
Take it slowly. Start with a single team as a pilot project. Get the feel of relinquishing control. Learn about empowerment. Begin with a relatively simple issue and see how the team performs. Get to know your players, and give the people on the sidelines a break.
- Control, Manipulation, and Fear.
A team must have freedom. The very nature of a high-performance team demands that it be trusted and empowered.
As a leader must train, empower and let go. Fear kills creativity. Enough said.
The assumption that competition increases performance is erroneous and short-sighted. Competition among team members, managers and teams, supervisors and teams, or teams within the same organization is destructive.
This, then, is another challenge for the visionary leader: to turn competition into cooperation.
I suggest you read No Contest: The Case Against Competition by Alfie Kohn. Kohn says, ‘‘Competing for a job or a plate of food is a reasonable choice only if we restrict our vision to the situation as it exists in a given instant—if we disregard causes, consequences, and context.’’
- The Wrong Kind of Team.
Today there are Virtual Teams, where members communicate by Skype or other platforms, taking turns playing the role of leader. There are Management Teams made up of managers from various departments, which basically coordinate work among other teams; Work Teams, which handle day-to-day problems; and Problem-solving Teams, which come together until a specific problem is solved and then disband. There are Cross-functional Teams, which are made up of several departments like manufacturing, research and development, engineering, and finance.
Work Teams are also known as high-performance, self-managed, or self-directed teams. In addition to doing the day-to-day work, a Work Team is empowered with the authority to make decisions on how the daily work is done. If a work team is genuinely empowered, it has a budget and the authority to determine the order in which designated tasks are done.
So, consider using these suggestions as a roadmap to assemble your own “Holographic Team” and support the success of your business.
James Mapes is the founder of Quantum Leap Thinking™, creator of The Transformational Coach™, expert on the psychology of “applied imagination,” best-selling author, highly acclaimed business speaker, consultant, seminar leader and personal excellence coach.