Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Digital Master Tuning XXX: Complimentary Team vs. Competitive Team - How to Build a High-Performing Team?

It takes both complimentary actions and competitive actions in a constructive/professional way to build a trust in teams.

Digital businesses are hyper-connected and interdependent; the nature of team is also shifting from homogeneous setting into heterogeneous characteristic; the further debate is: Complimentary team or competitive team, which can build more trust and achieve the high-performing result? What's the strategy and tactics to shape a high mature digital master?



Competitive teams more often show low levels of trust. Power and control, as one of the core human needs, is high and needs to be maintained at all cost. Hence in a team that is fragmented in terms of the trust, effort, and collective energy, the ego has to be fed rather than the team output, which leads to a significant drop in productivity. What would you do without trust? Ever tried to play/work on a team or with a group with no trust? It is very challenging. Competing against one another slows the team down and can stall innovative thinking. There are some traits that come in pairs and act in opposition to each other. One of those pairs is Trust and Control. The more we trust, the less we need to control each other. When we start to lose trust, we begin creating rules and trying to control others.


A good team is a cohesive group of people with complimentary skills, saddled with the responsibility to deliver on specific projects. High performing teams succeed because they are coopetitive in nature. Irrespective, strict adherence to team ground rules will sustain trust. A complementary team (with some overlap in skills) with differentiated competency always tried to be ahead of others but in a constructive way and nor destructive way. There are fewer obstacles and pitfalls to navigate and overcome when team members trust one another. So, it would seem reasonable to suggest that in whatever environment you are in, if there is a lack of trust, then there would most likely be an over-abundance of control mechanisms. Because the over-abundance of control mechanisms is when you don't have the collaborative framework with checks and balances within the teams.


It takes both complimentary actions and competitive actions in the constructive/professional way to build a trust in teams. The complimentary actions provide the basis for the trust but the competitive actions in a constructive way strengthen that trust. If you think about the question in terms of a sports team, all of the complementary actions during practice, travel, and games build a baseline level of trust but it is the competition among the various players strengthens (or deepens) the trust if competing in a professional way. If you are competing with 100% effort, everyone on the team around you sees that effort and it signals that you are all in. If I see you giving 100% then I am inspired to give that same level of effort. The sum of the competition equals a complimentary overall effort, both supporting the trust you are trying to build.


Trust is about the relationship, and control is about micro-management. Trust is the lack of fear; trust can only be built through communication to some extent, but it’s human instinct and it depended on the actions (and not words). In order to get more trust, one not only has to communicate but also demonstrate through actions. Control is about micromanagement (if you will) putting checks (not balances) around things where it's not required. The feedback loop control is about mechanics/engineering and not human. Trust can not be forced, though, any more than you can get fruit out of a tree by pulling on its branches. True trust has to be nurtured from the soil and in combination with appropriate micro and macro climates. If you try and force it, then it will only be a compliance-based form of trust which is a very poor substitute. Trust is also about relationship, one’s belief that something is reliable, honest, effective, ethical so on and so forth. When people start fearing about the lack of any of these elements they lose trust.


That same trust will create an inherent level of control as the team self-corrects. The caution is, the more actively an individual member of the team tries to control the team the more you negate the self-correcting instinct. A successful team with a strong basis of trust tend to be a balance of the two actions. If each team member executes their objectives, and the team's goal is well understood, then trust within the team will be high regardless of how competitive each is. Trust comes with person's personality, time and actions. The analogy to it would be the cruise control in the car, the question is how many trusted it when they used for the first time and were not over cautious. Similarly, it’s in any relationship where trust is built and without it, it would be a chaos. Competitive teams focus on the other teams and try very hard to surpass them for their own benefit. This seriously undermines mutual trust. Complimentary teams focus on giving and taking thus making them and the other teams stronger, but, still, their primary objective is always to be better than the other to have more reward. This is more or less collaboration with ulterior motives resulting in pseudo uptake in trust which is short-lived.


Collaborative management is essential -or it’s all about "coopetition." Complimentary and competitive teams can both produce positive results, but more often teams who operate individually, compete collectively and manage collaboratively are usually the winners! Collaboration, teamwork, unity bring strength. Everyone wins. Competition brings a spirit of fight, win-lose. In a competitive environment, you don't work together; you work against each other, because in order to win, the other team must lose. In competition, sabotage becomes an option in order to win. If you don't share resources, you have a better chance to win. It may cause destructive behavior, unprofessional attitude, and toxic culture. In collaboration, there is definitely a mix of complementary and competitive but the goal is still to win, not from internal teams but the external environment. The constructive internal competition is good unless and until it does not hurt the organization and its vision.


Build a conductive organizational climate: Don't forget about communication, transparency and acts of integrity on the part of management in creating organizational trust…without a conducive organizational climate, it is quite difficult to do the right things like transparent communication, display of integrity, and making people believe in the value of mutual trust. When there are noble, admirable, and inspiring shared goals, they become more credible and acceptable. If you can build the right culture to focus on shared goals where they mutually trust each other. Conducive organizational environments (Culture) need to be created and sustained.


The real answer is Co-Creating Teams. When teams are cultured to focus on the shared goals of the organization, they compete (professionally) and compliment (when needed) towards the attainment of the shared goals and that creates a conducive environment for mutual trust to flourish. Organizations need to pay more attention in creating shared and admirable goals and then encourage the teams to compete and collaborate as they deem fit. Trust created this way will be lasting and enjoyable, and also create synergy to accelerate the flywheel of digital transformation.


Digitalization is like a flywheel, and Digital Masters are the one riding above it. Surf more Information about Digital Master:








0 comments:

Post a Comment

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More