Sep 20, 2023

Are you really a team? Or are you a just group of individuals working together?

Many of us are talking about which team will win the cup, which team has looked the most promising in their lead up to the tournament. We talk a lot about the players, their skills, and how well they perform in their positions. We also talk about how well they play together as a team. And then the enthusiasts consider the effectiveness of their captain, the impact the coaches have, and some can even describe how the culture of some teams differ, and whether the way they interact and behave with one another on and off the field is a factor that contributes to them winning or losing.

Sports and Business Leadership teams have a lot in common, but probably the most important thing they have in common is that the outcome, what they are striving to achieve, the results they dream about can only be achieved through excellent teamwork. Working effectively as a team requires commitment to the collective’s goals, and not to individual glory. Patrick Lencioni says in his book that team members who want the fulfillment of winning must make the conscious choice that it’s the team’s interest that takes priority over individual interests. For ambitious and driven individuals in a competitive business environment, this is a far more significant conscious choice than what we sometimes think it is. So, what is it that we think makes for a winning team:

  • An absolute obsession and hunger from all members of the team to achieve something of significance to them. A sense of purpose or why they exist, a vision of what success looks like, and a clear path of what needs to be done to get there.
  • Having clarity of the kind of team they are. Not all teams are or need to be the same in the way they are structured, how they allocate their resources, and how they collaborate. The team’s “model” of how it works must be understood by all team members.
  • The highest levels of trust amongst all team members. Team members need to know the “rules” of how they play together, or the behaviors that will lead to their success. Every interaction between team members, whether in front of their clients, or in the boardroom should be seen as a trust-building opportunity.  

We believe Patrick Lencioni’s statement is so true – Teamwork as a term thrown around easily in business today, yet it’s still the definite source of competitive advantage. Strategy and direction is essential and high performing, aligned leadership teams are critical for efficient execution.