Teams are the building blocks of organisations, which themselves operate at their adaptable best when they are ‘teams of teams’ – a phrase coined by General Stanley McChrystal. Highly performing organisations need highly performing teams that relate to each other in the same ways that individuals do in a given team.
Teamwork is a principal driver of engagement and an individual’s experience of their workplace and their wider organisation is primarily informed by the state of their immediate team and its formal leader.
Ascent believes that there are five requirements high performance (and that most ‘teams’ regularly operate below this standard). All require continual attention.
The purpose has to be explicitly compatible both with the ambition of the larger organisation and its other teams. In good teams, every member can answer the question ‘how did your work help your team contribute to your organisation’s ambition today?’
The relationships that matter are based on mutual trust, challenge and support. Liking each other can add to a congenial atmosphere, but affection is not essential to team-based relationships. Diverse strengths and viewpoints deliver robust offspring rather than the anaemic results of inbred or unquestioning team cultures.
The primary role of a team leader, therefore, is to focus on the team’s purpose, the quality of debate and on the relationships between team members and between teams.
“The better teams often treat their purpose like an offspring in need of constant nurturing and care”
“A team is small number of people with complementary skills who are equally committed to a common purpose, goals and working approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.”
Because most 'teams' just aren't
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