So: we’ve talked about Processes and People. Now the third element in tackling the basics in this new normal…Teams.
As I said, sounds simple, right? Put a group of people together and you’ve got a team. Not so fast.
Your most successful teams are groups of people who are united in their agenda, and purpose. They are all rowing together for a common goal, and have the best interests of the goal at heart. Now this doesn’t mean that all team members are always happy and everyone gets along. Don’t fall for the myths that silence equals agreement or that polite equals productive. We live in reality, not on Sesame Street.
You need a high functioning team. What does that mean? I often think about the movie Apollo 13. There are several memorable scenes where various teams get in the room and hash out how to keep the astronauts alive and get them safely home in the face of multiple, unbelievable obstacles.
Here are some of the qualities which made them high functioning teams:
- They had fierce trust in members’ capabilities and competencies
- They managed intense emotions and conflict together
- They productively disagreed together
- They welcomed the devil’s advocate
- They entertained crazy, wild, ridiculous ideas (“You can’t run a vacuum cleaner on 12 amps, Jon!”)
Having a team that can work together productively and tackles the toughest scenarios in times of significant duress is one of the most powerful assets you can have. If navigating conflict, high emotions, difficult problems is practiced in the most routine of operations, you’ll have a team that is ready for when the stakes are high and the decisions matter most. Give them a safe place to practice building the skills. Let them struggle toward their lessons learned when it’s safe to do it. Make this skill building a routine exercise. You’ll then have the dress rehearsals built in for when the real show comes to town.
So now you have it. Back to basics with Processes, People, and Teams. Now let’s get to work.