Teamwork has long been recognised as a vehicle for improving organisational performance and the fundamental attributes of effective teams have been acknowledged, if not widely practiced.
To quote Patrick Lencioni, author and expert on teams, “Teamwork remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it is so powerful and so rare”.
To set the stage, it’s worth clarifying what a good team really is – a small number of people who are committed to a common purpose, work interdependently toward performance goals set and share accountability for outcomes.
Too often, we see leaders at the top of organisations referred to as a team but in many cases, there is precious little teamwork going on. They meet together regularly but operate siloed business units and are less concerned with joint responsibility for problem-solving, critical decision-making and guiding the organisation as a whole.
Another challenge with team development lies with the leaders themselves. A 360-degree survey of over six thousand executives and managers in 2009 found that team-building skill was rated in the bottom 25 percent of performance-related leadership competencies.
Lencioni says that all teams have the potential to be dysfunctional in some way and the solution is to address key issues of trust, conflict, commitment, accountability and collective results.
His model resonates with team leaders everywhere because it offers a straightforward and systematic approach to uniting a group of leaders with a clear purpose and opening up honest and candid conversations about what really matters.
With fifteen years’ experience in executive team coaching, we have seen the power of aligning team members by attending to these critical success factors and now use an online Team Assessment to provide a starting point for building a well-functioning and cohesive team.
We have added the dimension of working remotely to the strategies and tactics for building team performance. In some cases, they need to find a way of working that meets the needs of all members wherever they are located and how often they come together.
This takes discipline and courage, but the rewards are great and available to any team working to differentiate itself by accomplishing more in a shorter timeframe.
Executive team coaching is a specialised form of coaching aimed at facilitating progress on each of the team success factors. It requires considerable skill to read the room, identify group dynamics and to sensitively confront inappropriate behaviour and other dysfunctions of a team.