19 Apr Teams – Are They Born or Made?
We have been finding and developing leaders and teams in businesses large and small for 17 years at 1st Executive. Over the years we have seen a great deal of literature on how teams operate and what makes them successful and unsuccessful.
Some teams are born…
Outside of business, there is little doubt that some teams are born and others have greatness thrust upon them by circumstance. The great and dominant Australian cricket team that played together from the mid 1990’s to when some key players retired in 2007 was probably born (but made themselves better). It’s also easy to wonder how strong Tim Rice would have been without Andrew Lloyd Webber, McCartney without Lennon, Page without Plant or Howard without Costello. It’s instructive that great talent thrown together by circumstance has created teams that are household names.
but most are made…
What of workplace leadership though? In working with individual executives, we are often required to break down an external locus of control where progress is seen as obstructed by others. We have also worked with the Forming, Storming, Norming situational leadership model. We have asked leadership teams to nominate the three or four corporate capabilities they needed to be really good at to achieve their goals (based on Jim Collins work in “Good to Great”) and generally have to whittle these back from 10 or 12 because the team is not really on the same page and, more recently, we have dome some work with Patrick Lencioni’s “Five Dysfunctions of a Team.”
In addition we have worked with Dr. Chris Mason’s Change Success model which is a really practical way of taking back the locus of control and still making sure we address external factors.
All of this tells me, that at work, leadership teams are made, have to be made and need to be re-made regularly. What has been a revelation recently is the frequency with which line managers in management teams consistently view their direct reports as the “A Team” rather than the leadership team itself. This is a critical and sometimes hidden error.
We have addressed this recently in workshops by ensuring teams commit to their most important goal and have a way of measuring their progress. We then use our online coaching support platform to optimise the extent to which the entire team focuses their actual, real activity on the outcomes required by the larger goal.
I’d be interested to hear what others have done and even more interested to hear from business leaders who feel that their team is not quite where they want it to be!