Great teams are supportive and challenging, and use the strengths of their colleagues to get results. They are not cosy, nor complacent. Their honesty and openness allows them to be creative, and strive to improve performance. Sounds easy? It isn’t – and each team has its unique set of issues. Many board members and senior executives reach the top because of their strong individualism and competitive streak. Often these very qualities run counter to good team working. In virtual teams, remote locations and cultural differences compound the challenges.
What marks out an effective team?
- Common understanding of the team’s highest value activities
- Clear accountabilties: individual and collective
- Standards of behaviour that are shared
- Knowing each others’ strengths, and style – and openness to use that knowledge within the team
- Good processes, especially information sharing
- Trust in each other – as individual contributors – and as collaborators and colleagues
We help senior teams explore these issues, see where change is needed, and commit to action. We know how to balance confidentiality with disclosure – to build trust. This allows us to get to the heart of the issue to unlock best performance. Sometimes this is achieved in one extended session: often we work with teams over weeks or months. Team workshops are interspersed with individual coaching, so that one build on the other. Recent examples of team coaching include:
- Dealing with implications of merger and integration
- Leading strategic change
- Newly formed leadership team post re-organsiation
- Senior team with significant relationship issues
- Board feeling that they were not getting the maximum from board meetings
- Multinational team reconciling cultural misunderstandings and different working assumptions
“THE TEAM HAS HAD A QUITE EXTRAORDINARY FIRST YEAR. WE HAVE INTRODUCED MAJOR CHANGE, THE RESOURCES HAVE BEEN TIGHT AND DEMAND HIGH. COUNTER TO ALL WISDOM, ALL TARGETS HAVE BEEN ACHIEVED.” (CHIEF EXECUTIVE, NEWLY FORMED PUBLIC SECTOR MANAGEMENT TEAM)