I can tell from a distance if a team is built, and you can too — if you understand what “built” means.
Stand back, so you can observe the team as a whole. Then ask yourself these two questions:
- Is there collective movement toward a specific shared direction?
- Is the entire team energized?
If you haven’t been trained yet to use this process, here are some questions to get you started.
Interview people, individually, or as a group to see where they stand on the following:
1. What are we as a team to do? What’s our shared task or outcome?
Task clearly informs direction and energy. Having a shared outcome — articulated in such a way that no member can win until the team wins — may be the most important distinction between a workgroup and a team. Members are energized when they know they will individually win when the team wins.
2. What’s in it for each player to commit to the team’s work?
Each member’s answer to this question is the source of his or her energy. Remember — a team performs to the level of it’s least invested member.
3. Do we have agreements that allow us to operate rapidly?
Group velocity increases with members’ confidence in the ways they interact with each other. Members’ confidence soars when they see each other maintain the team’s integrity or “shape.” And confidence contributes markedly to energy.
4. Do we share a goal that inspires us?
Clear and elevating goals produce both energy and direction. (See The Collaborative Leader’s Most Powerful Tool: Expansion.) Goals are powerful tools that require true lateral thinking — more than any of the other steps.
5. Is the team optimized by each member’s talents?
We discover people’s hidden talents in emergencies. The same is true when teams inventory and honor what each member could bring to the interaction — less than obvious talents can emerge in stunning ways. Knowing what they’ve got to draw on frees teams to really lean into their forward momentum.
Get Started With This Week’s 5-Minute Stretch
Close your eyes and mentally observe a current team. Do they exhibit clear direction? How about collective energy?
Using your Leadership Gift and the Team Orientation Process steps above, pinpoint the impediment and commit to address it as soon as possible.
I encourage you to share your insights or ask a question about this blog post by leaving a comment!
Christopher Avery, PhD, is a recognized authority on how individual and shared responsibility works in the mind and an advisor to leaders worldwide. Build a responsible team (or family) and master your leadership skills with The Leadership Gift Program for Leaders.
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