How to turn your company into a team (of teams)
From Thomas Schulte
A company that’s a team (of teams) is special. It cannot be thrown off course by unexpected events and challenges. Its people work seamlessly, are flexible and creative and able to overcome almost any crisis. Change is naturally integrated into the DNA of their organisation. If you have ever worked in such a team (of teams) you probably long to repeat the experience.
Too good to be true?
Take sports. Defense, midfield and storm – a team of teams. The players refuse to give up despite lagging behind or don’t get careless when in the lead. Everyone, regardless of his or her position, pulls his weight, helps each other out, knows where the others are, avoids finger wagging and moralizing and shares information. It’s amazing. Watching such a team is fun and energizing. It radiates lightness and performance.
A good team of teams doesn’t come for free. It requires continuous effort and development. Both the individuals and the teams have to work on it.
To achieve this, you have to do some investigation. Find the one key quality or competence which is the biggest limiting factor, the missing link, within your organisation at the moment. This can be for example, self-management, risk taking, unselfishness, trust or respect. It’s often something you wouldn’t think of initially. Then, build this quality like athletes who work on speed, endurance or flexibility, and do this with practice, exercise and reflection upon progress. Then work on another “weak” quality, and so on.
Feedback from external coaches can help you discover your “missing links” based on a well-balanced mix of internal assessments and outward perspective.
What would sports be without Coaching? Unthinkable! Why should teams in business be any different? Developing a team of teams entails a cultural shift for most organisations, which affects the habits and attitudes of all individuals and teams involved. Without coaching this can rarely be achieved within an acceptable time frame.
Time is our most precious resource. In sports it’s all about a tenth or hundredths of a second. In organisations timing is of similar importance, even though a bit less critical. However, think of the speed in which a severe crisis or a powerful competitor can emerge.
Set yourself a limited time, not more than say three months. Strengthen your key quality within this time. If you are in doubt whether you can achieve this, lower your sights and reduce your objectives rather than extending the time frame. Better a small step accomplished than a big one put off. Reflect upon your progress regularly. Every step counts. In sports teams don’t make it to the top overnight either.