There is a lot written on what makes teams successful – just Google it – it makes for some interesting reading. There are certainly a lot of skilled practitioners out there doing good work who have strong advice about what helps. However, research showing causality between a specific factor or condition and high or improved performance is harder to find.
Leading & Building Teams
We coach, develop and work alongside leaders and teams to shift ideas on leadership and provide the skills and tools needed to grow teams.
Heading to a Neuroleadership Summit in New York (for the second year in a row) felt a little hard to justify. But there is nothing quite like it for experiencing the zeitgeist of a fairly progressive segment of corporate America. With Harvard Professor Amy Edmondson’s book “Teaming” promptly sold out, and standing room only at the “Neuroscience of Effective Teams” even David Rock expressed surprise at the level of interest in team.
As we are about to see some elite international rugby being played again with the All Blacks taking on Wales, I pondered what lessons we can learn from one of the best teams in the business. There are some things that are just plain obvious.
One of the reasons collaboration is highly desired is because as our world gets increasingly complex, there is significant benefit in bringing diverse thoughts and perspectives to difficult issues. But here is the problem…
“My team is a good bunch of people but they don’t really work much together. And we talk about how we should collaborate more, but nothing really changes. They all go back to doing their own things”. [A common team leader’s complaint.]
Our search for the truth about what makes great teams has led us to do a review of the research and read stacks of books written by academics and team experts proclaiming they have the answer. It’s a bit like a search for the holy grail. There is a different model and list of key factors at every turn.
Our framework has eight distinct levels of engagement and performance. In the lower levels the team is under performing in one or more areas and may in fact be dysfunctional. Teams of this kind are more likely not real teams and probably need troubleshooting and special strategies for lifting up.