Effective teams are greater than the sum of their parts, achieving high levels of trust, agility, and productivity. They can innovate, integrate new ways of working more quickly, challenge openly and produce great outcomes.
In our experience there are four essential elements, underpinned by self-awareness, that need to be in place and working effectively for a team to be able to thrive. As a founder or leader of, by exploring your team through this model, you can identify perceived issues in any of the facets that could cause dysfunction or inefficient working methods.
I can’t get enough of this model in my own team, whether we are hitting the highs or the lows, invariably I find the answers we need working in this way. We examine how we are nurturing our climate, maintaining our focus, building great team processes and encouraging our flow.
Teams where individuals are healthily self-aware of their personality preferences, understand others and adapt and connect to each other, produce the best climate and enjoy higher levels of trust and engagement.
Tapping into the diversity of the team, creating a climate of constructive challenge and mutual respect ensures problems and opportunities are approached from a wide variety of perspectives. Creating a team climate where members are encouraged to come at things differently and feel able to openly express themselves, in whatever way suits their preferences, tend to generate new ideas which benefit the team and the business.
Teams are also most effective when people have a positive perception of the team unit, feel that they add individual value and feel that their contribution is appreciated. Regularly recognising great teamwork and celebrating success creates a powerful effect which can be contagious across the organization.
When teams are focused, with a clear vision and goals, they are more able to identify practical steps to move from current to future state and are motivated to take the necessary steps to get there.
At Insights we’ve found that different people respond to goals in different ways. When we tailor the outcomes to the team, ensure we have purposeful and visionary, yet specific goals, this can lead to higher performance, when we maintain the focus. A focus on our clearly stated ambition helps to create clarity and understanding, avoiding a lack of ownership.
Additionally, we’ve found a mix of team-centric goals – maximising each person’s contribution to the team – as well as individual goals improves overall effectiveness and performance.
Teams with strong processes thrive because there are clear methods of working. Processes which cover the human or people related aspects of team development, strategic processes which can keep our eyes firmly on the horizon, individual and team measurement and performance processes are all vital components to ensure the team is aligned and understands it unique and specific function in the organization.
At Insights we also have a value of ‘enjoying the journey’ together. Whilst it may sound silly to have processes around having fun, teams who play together stay together, so ensuring regular routines to ensure human connections are made is essential.
How a team works together – or flows – is an important ingredient in its overall success. Taking the time to listen to colleague’s personal experiences, empathising and responding authentically with each other helps ensure flow.
We have a culture of check-ins and check-outs at Insights which significantly helps establish flow. Sharing personal or professional experiences and aspirations for the meeting, or project, at the beginning of team time together encourages teams to be empathetic and respectful of team members.
When teams have the shared goals and focus on flow, they work collectively and interact positively – this increases team unity and collaboration and encourages individuals to bring forward new ideas in service of their shared goal. A team being ‘in flow’ which is hard to pin down, but it is very apparent when it’s not happening.
Climate, focus, process and flow are four simple elements when applied to a team are ingredients akin to tilling the soil, hydrating and nourishing a plant, which can help ensure your team grows and thrives.
So what are you doing in your teams to ensure you are maximizing your team’s success?
Written by Fiona Logan.
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