Today’s business and competitive world is different than it was even a couple of years ago. Are we using the right tools to maximize our effectiveness today, or are we still using yesterday’s tools just because we are comfortable with them?
There are four trends that define the differences between yesterday’s way and today: 1) Solo to team performance; 2) Stand-alone company to link in supply chain; 3) From problem detection to process failure prevention; and 4) From managing data to empowering decision making. This article looks at the first of these trends.
Solo To Team Performance
Yesterday’s way was individual performance and individual evaluation. Yet, we know today that strong solo performances do not ensure, and may not even be aligned with organizational goals or success. Increasingly, it
is the performance of the team that is the determinant of our business’ success and our customers’ satisfaction.
The individual takes a secondary role in today’s team-organized workplace. Critical skills for an individual to succeed and contribute to the team include communication, leadership, “followership” and focus and fact management.
Communication. Communication is more than just articulate speech or the ability to speak in front of other people. Yesterday’s communication was a broadcast mode where getting the message out was important. Today, for successful team communication, the connection between speaker and listener is the critical measure. Active listening and attention – not broadcasting – are important to ensure connection.
Leadership. Perhaps your role is to help lead your team to success. Leading by example and taking the most difficult or unpleasant chores are the best ways to establish the authority and respect of leadership. Valuing the contributions of the
rest of your team is another equally valuable way to effectively lead your team to success.
Followership. A team is not only a collection of superstars (the New York Yankees not withstanding). Teams perform best with a clear leader and team members that have relevant expertise. Both the leader and the members should be comfortable
with their roles and the importance of the team’s mission. They should also feel appreciated for their contributions. Saving one’s personal comments to allow the team to stay on topic is probably the most undervalued and underperformed team participation technique.
Focus And Fact Management. Working with others of varying levels of experience, knowledge and responsibility makes it difficult for groups to stay on topic. Yet today’s complex, interconnected and interdependent processes require that all areas take active roles in their management and improvement.
Using facts as the focus of discussion ensures that regardless of differentials in skill, experience or process knowledge, all affected areas are given deserved consideration. Obtaining, interpreting and testing the facts are key to your team’s success. When a team gets bogged down, it is always best to go back to the facts. “What do we know?” is a surer guide than, “Here’s what I think.”
In the old days, the paradigm for success was communication – generally top down through the organizational hierarchy – broadcast pronouncements and “Thou shalts.” In today’s inter connected and inter networked world, harvesting the message in the data requires lateral communications between peers and establishing connections.
Next issue: Part 2 – Stand-Alone Company To Link In Supply Chain