Your peak performing team in just 10 minutes

Last week I attended by far the best leadership programme I have ever attended. As a relatively new sales leader I was introduced to an ‘essential leadership’ three letter concept known as DAC; Direction, Alignment, Commitment and I wanted to share my reflections on how to build your peak performing team in just 10 minutes.

In teams we played a game of Jenga with a few changes to ensure a high pressured, profit related environment. The idea was that the best leaders pull together their team, give them a direction in which to act, align them in their best position and quickly get full commitment and engagement in their strategy to deliver an ambitious yet achievable target. Sound familiar?

So how can you use the DAC principle to quickly assemble your project team in under 10 minutes?

Direction – the top performing teams (the teams who delivered the most profitable projects) ALL by no exception heard everyone’s ideas on strategy and swiftly made a decision on what their vision of success would be – “We want to build fastest with the least cost” – for example. Top performing teams who couldn’t agree on a simple strategy, of which there were two, had strong leaders who took decisive action based on time pressures to move the group forward. An important move – 6 minutes left.

Alignment – the next thing these top performing teams did was to get people into the correct roles; one accounting, two builders, another quality and so on. This was usually done quickly without too much concern for most teams, we reverted to default, “who’s good with numbers – you’re the accountant”, “who’s practically minded here – you’re the builder”. Next principle – 2 minutes left.

Commitment – Naturally not everyone was in agreement with the direction that was given to begin with and some even had reservations about who was placed in which role (myself included!) but teams who performed best, again without exception, was the whole hearted commitment to the team regardless of their individual position. The best leaders were able to quickly identify possible conflicts, allow the voice to be heard yet gain complete support and engagement. Not a consensus, engagement. Time.

This happened twice and although teams in some cases doubled their profits from the previous attempt, every single team fell short of their target.

So what was missing?

Strengths – during the alignment phase people were ‘teamed together’ based on what they were perceived to be ‘good’ perhaps because of past experiences NOT what they are ‘energised by’ and by default have the potential to become great at. Now this is only a simple game played over 10 minutes but the impact was demonstrated nonetheless. Teams had people in roles which they had no desire to become the best at, only good enough to win which in the end turned out to not be enough. Sound familiar?

Taking this into the real world, by applying these 4 simple steps and aligning teams based on what energises them NOT what they’re good at or what they have a preference to, leaders can expect to build more engaged, productive, agile and competitive teams in 10 minutes than people have been able to do consistently over the last 10 years. Don’t believe me, try it and let me know what you find.

Anthony Fitton, Business Development Manager, Strengthscope