When you absolutely, positively must create a team. Here are a few secrets:
- Create Connection. Teams are Powered by People. People need connection. Whether you look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs, Max-Neef’s fundamental human needs or Tony Robbins 6 human needs, they all cite connection or belonging as essential. Create connection that intentionally meets this human need through a formal team building activity, a shared lunch time (and space) or other opportunities to be together in a social manner. Face to face interaction builds connection faster and more effectively. However, there are ways to engage virtually that can create social connection. We are part of a team where we use IM to share questions and comments as well as communicate appreciation, share funnies and express ourselves through the status line. We also make sure to allocate a few minutes throughout the week to intentionally engage in caring conversation about what’s going on with our team members.
- Clear Purpose. It’s difficult to collectively achieve something if everyone has a different definition of success. Team members must know why they were selected to participate and what they need to accomplish. Whether you use a formal team charter, or you begin with a simple purpose statement, make sure that every team member is clear on why they are there and what they must accomplish.
- Communication. Teams flourish (they are at the greatest level of productivity) when the members practice successful communication patterns. Insights from MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory were captured in the HBR article, The New Science of Building Great Teams. They found that patterns of communication are the most important predictor of a team’s success. Some of the patterns that predict success include; talking and listening in equal amounts, team members connect with each other (not just the leader) and that the team members carry on side conversations within the team.
We worked with several Executive Teams to maximize their collective team impact. Here are a few of the comments about the best teams they were part of:
“there was trust and respect, mutual pride; we had each other’s backs”
“a great team takes ownership; theycommunicate regularly and under stand their dependency on each other”
“there is clarity of goal and direction; the team collectively works to get there”
If you’ve been part of successful team, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us what made it great. We would enjoy the opportunity to showcase your examples of great teams.