The big question was asked: “Why do they need to be a team?”
After a long silence, the leader responded “We don’t need to be a team!”
Strategically, one of the secrets to success is to create the need for teamwork. You do not have to even use the word “team” or teach the principles. Most people know what it takes. The need is what causes them to take what they know and put it into action. In most cases, it is not that they don’t know what to do; in most cases the limiting factor is that individuals will not necessarily expend the effort to use what they know and act as a team, especially if there is no need.
Recently, we met with an owner that was struggling with his team. They had invested a significant amount of time in order to achieve good teamwork. Everyone did work well together. The organization ran smoothly with periodic opportunities and crises that were handled well by the team. However, the leader was still needed for big decisions. Critical details were missed at times. Disagreements among team members had to be worked through by this leader. Their financial results fluctuated. While unable to point directly at the issue, the leader felt that something was missing.
So much more would be possible, if only they could break through the invisible wall that was holding them back! The invisible wall was “no need”.
One way to create the need is to create a vision of the future, the destination of where you are going. There should be a clear path with detours (in case things don’t go quite as planned) and some rules as to how you will conduct yourself on the journey. We equate a strategic need for teamwork with taking a trip. You need to know where you are going because there is a big difference between Miami and Boston. You need to know the path and the vehicle to use, since a car on back roads is very different than a non-stop flight. Conducting ourselves in a certain way determines if we have a match (snoring at a Motel 6 with three of us to a room is different than sleeping separately at a Marriott).
Creating a clear, written future and path that is big enough to need the entire team is a great way to create teamwork at low cost and with a powerful result. At the same time you create the strategic need, it is critical to get the tactical actions working in the right way.
On twitter the other day there was a quote that said, “If you quit doing it for them, they will have to think for themselves.” We agree!
As leaders, we have a tendency to want to help and to give answers. That can be the death of a team, as it does not allow the demand for an answer to spark the individual and the team to think through options and to arrive at the best doable solution. It does not teach them to think. It also does not give the leader an opportunity to see how people think and help them to use a better thinking process. (In a math class, the reason a teacher wants the students to show their work is so that the teacher can clearly see where the process went off the tracks and they know what the student needs.)
Leaders need to allow situations to develop where they can see the process of how their followers think and then help them to become more effective at thinking clearly. Peter Bregman has a great video on www.ted.com that talks about the power of the words “I don’t know.” Those words are a way to spark followers to go look for answers. Great followers want to be needed and those words motivate them to fill the need. Watch what they do and how they do it to help develop a better system of thinking. Do the same thing with a team so they rely on each other more.
Success is in plain sight – let us guide your way!
The Comprehensive Independence Builder
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To schedule your Independence Exploration Session or for more information on our programs, please contact us at 800-786-4332, or Info@AppliedVisionWorks.com Applied Vision Works, Inc. – One Vision. One Voice. Unlimited Success.