Putting talented people on a team does not mean those individuals will team in talented ways. It’s a common belief that if you put people in a room, identify the purpose of the team and shared objectives, manipulate some rewards, and ask people to shake hands that teamwork will occur.
If it were that simple, countless more companies would be successful. Yet, importantly, it doesn’t have to be difficult to activate the potential of a team early in the process. You need only do things differently.
Underneath all the words, glitzy powerpoint slides, and the smiles of colleagues are currents of beliefs, a not-so-hidden display of thinking and actions each person is demonstrating. These behaviors, of course, are formed by all previous experiences – which is precisely the point: Organizations want their new teams to bring enhanced value to the organization, but all too often, people are bringing outdated beliefs to new teams and thereby sabotaging new teaming efforts.
Every team needs a silent hero, someone who will do more than break the ice – and instead lead a discussion that enables team members to bring the “best of” their past experiences to the new team dynamics.
You don’t have to be the leader of the meeting, either. You merely have to be curious and serious about setting the new team up for great success.
It can sound like this: “Pardon me. I know we’re all eager to get started and talking about our purpose and objectives. However, I think it’s important we decide what sort of team we’re going to be, first.”
“Would a few people share their answers to these questions: What’s a great team you’ve been on in the past? What made it great? And how do we bring that experience to this team?”
If you’re thinking that having such a discussion with new teammates isn’t normal – you’re right. Which is precisely why too many teams normally deliver average results. Yet, the fact is, most people are aching for great team experiences while at work because they know it’s the only way big things will be achieved.
And you’re the leader to make it happen.
P.S. The short video below highlights five proven questions in a format we call The Recipe for Partnership which you can use in any teaming effort. Your next meeting is your chance to make sure your team delivers new value.