One of the most noticeable workplace trends in recent years is the growth of multi-team membership. In many organisations, individual employees may now be members of several teams on a formal basis, and several more on an informal basis. And we are social animals, often feeling most at home and most engaged at work when we part of a social group. That engagement can come from a shared sense of purpose, from collaborating with other like-minded individuals, from a sense of togetherness, or a variety of other features of working in a positive, productive team. But high performing teams don’t happen by chance. Instead, they are an outcome of good planning and ensuring that the team engages in the right behaviours, developing productive ‘habits’ right from the outset.
So as teams increasingly become the primary work unit, coalescing around a project, delivering required outputs and then dissolving, it is becoming more and more important to help the team get to the start line and get out of the starting blocks quickly. To do this effectively, teams need to:
- Agree purpose – what is the point of team? What are its goals and deliverables? Who are its customers and stakeholders? What is its picture of success? When will it know it has achieved its objectives?
- Understand strengths, skills and risks – once purpose, outcomes and stakeholders are agreed, the team can understand who brings what to the party – what can each member deliver in terms of what they know and can do, in terms of what they enjoy doing too. In addition, the team should look at its overall mix of strengths and skills, identifying any risks and filling gaps where they may exist. At this stage, team roles should be nailed down.
- Develop core process – the team needs disciplines around governance, reporting, meetings, behaviours to achieve its outcomes. A team that ignores process risks are likely to be disappointed with the result of unmet expectations for stakeholders and the team itself.
- Review and learn – as the team sets out from the starting blocks, it should set aside time to review and learn from challenges and setbacks, as well as from success along the way. That way, the team can hone its approach, changing the mix of tasks, roles and required behaviours along the way.
Strengths Partnership’s 5As process for developing peak performing teams is one of the core components of our team assessment and accreditation training programme. We see it as vital that individuals and teams understand their strengths, skills and risks, as well as the behaviours and ‘habits’ that will help the team to deliver sustained success. And we have developed our product suite to provide this information. To find out more, see our StrengthscopeTeam™ sample report and StrengthscopeTeam™ Accreditation Training
Paul Brewerton, Managing Director, Strengthcope