Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Can you have a team made of all the best players?

Alignment, Clarity, Collaboration, and Motivation will be key enablers in building a high-performing team. 

Digital is the age of the people, and people are still the weakest link in strategy execution, so how to build a high-performing team, can you have a team made of all the best players? And which shall you focus on Individual mojo or team spirit? Competition or collaboration?

Clarification: You recognize that "best" is different for every position, to be fully aware of different roles to be covered. You need to define each key role and profile need. You need to determine what's best for each position based on what it will contribute to your overall goals, then go get it. You can have a team of great players, but there needs to be extra attention given to role clarification and the human dynamics of personalities and human behavior, treat them same by treating them differently as well, to ensure the right person for the right seat in the right environment (company's context of culture, vision, values....). This is to identify the person fitting better (taking into account the medium-long term of the relationship). These people are the best because they are really involved in the mission, they really like their job and the mission they have to accomplish. They believe and have trust in leadership and in vision accomplishment. 

 Convincing: To clarify vision, goals, strategy and environment (field of play - both internal and external) ) to master in communication, sharing and leading. You can convince your team to buy into your vision, goals, and approach and be willing to sublimate their egos to achieve them. Partly, you do that by getting the team to help shape that direction based on their knowledge, skills, and abilities, so that they become a team of people with roles who support each other and not a group of people with big egos who go off in their own directions. A company with leadership that is committed to hiring, evaluating, counseling, and firing (as much as we hate to do it) based on how team members embrace your core values along with focusing on the Right Person - Right Seat can, in fact, have a team of best players. It is possible to achieve the goal, only if the company has clearly identified and communicate what is in scope, what is the purpose of the role, what the context is, what the company vision culture and values are and convince the team to move in that right direction.

CollaborationAssuming you have the best people in each seat, then what? The real challenge is getting everyone to collaborate effectively. A group of high performing individuals is most likely to underachieve if they don't collaborate well. They will find it difficult to handle ambiguous or unclear information, and information overload results in the lack of accountability and God knows where that leads to. Most of the managers are considering the matter in a competitive environment, where each best player is playing its own game (the battle of egos). Sure, this is the environment we live in, that's the model we are running in each company. Internal Competitive schemes are dominating in our companies because the competition is going to improve any performances and any results. In these games, battles of egos are going to take over and in order to win a personal game, the game will be lost by anyone. In this case, anyone contributes positively to the cause accomplishment is the best. However, let's imagine, for a moment, to change the game rules we usually apply. The new environment is a context where sharing and cooperating are the usual way of working, for accomplish a common purpose (result, goal, task, and higher, a vision). You are not going to recruit the best for that role, but you are going to recruit the best for that role who has the right (and true) sense of duty, the right collaborative way of working, the right culture and values, the right responsibility, the right sense of belonging, the right approach to the common cause, the right sense of long term and continuity (business, relationship, value creation, results, sustainability...) In terms of collaboration, you may like to ask yourself 3 questions: 
(1) - Does everyone knows and understands each other's goals and have agreed on common overall goals ? (Alignment) 
(2) - Are information and knowledge equally shared among all members? (Clarity) 
(3)- Is there an environment of Psychological Safety and culture of innovation (Trust) 

Motivation: You are willing to pay for the best, not just with money, but with motivators such as recognition of achievement and personal development that, ironically, will lead to even greater success for people once they leave your organization. Analyze each member's personality, aspirations, motivators, egos, limitshave a personal development plan for each member in order to manage people in long term period (retain or let go)  Both of these are for good reasons.

The team “Spirit”: It isn't easy to bring together the best and mold them into an effective team, and there's more to it than what you might think about, but bringing the best together successfully can be done and has been done many times before. Even so, the real focus needs to be on the best team rather than the best individuals. It is possible to build up a team of the best players. It will be a winning team if you consider the spirit of the team first. Team chemistry matters and is a significant driver of success on the sports field and in the business world. Very often someone who is considered 'the best' in their particular field might actually be a detriment to the team and is a suboptimal choice. This doesn't add value to the company. Studies do confirm that 'all-star' teams often underperform because too much focus goes into the talents of a single individual when ROI is driven by many individuals that need to be working optimally in concert. 

This is a great question that every leader should be asking and then challenging themselves on; it is very difficult to have the best person at every position, but will argue that it is not impossible. Ultimately, you'd want to build a company culture where you have "We-centric" teams rather than a collection of "Me-centric" stars. Alignment, Clarity, Collaboration, and Motivation will be key enablers getting you there. 


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