Does your business feel like it has stalled? Has it plateaued? Or flatlined?
If you have ever watched kids playing football you will be familiar with the sight of every player on the pitch chasing the ball around the field of play. This is a typical scene as youngsters start to learn a team game. Slowly, over time they learn what their own individual roles are and they learn to do their own specific job and stay in position. It is complex and difficult.
When we start to put a team together to work in our business we go through a similar process. If we start off really small everyone does everything. As the team starts to grow a division of labour starts to become important and people begin to specialise in their own roles. But unlike a sports team in a business team coaching and team coordination don’t often seem very high on the agenda. Consequently the result is a lack of clarity on what people’s roles are, who does what and how it all knits together.
The culmination is a confused and inefficient business.
I think there is a decision to be made. To ‘team’ or not to ‘team’. You don’t have to operate as a team. You can choose to operate as a bunch of disconnected individuals. In some circumstances a working group can be effective enough, but whenever I ask businesses the question they always come down in favour of teaming.
Pat Lencioni said “If you could get all the people in the organization rowing in the same direction, you could dominate any industry, in any market, against any competition, at any time”. It is my belief that an effective team is the greatest multiplier of human effort that there is. But great teams don’t happen entirely by accident.
There is enough written on teams, but I would ask you to consider; if a great team is important in your business to growing and winning, do you have the right processes in place to keep all of the team on the same page and pulling in the same direction?
You see if we don’t have the correct processes in place, we won’t have a team but a rag tag collection of individuals. If we don’t constantly and consistently repeat the same message, the team is unlikely to be aligned. An unaligned team is one that is pulling against itself.
It is the lack of clear direction, the lack of clear values and the lack of clear understanding that often handicaps a potential team so badly it appears to be going backwards rather than forwards.
A prime function of leadership
In my top ten, reason 7 is ‘Your team aren’t all on the same page and rowing in the same direction’ Does everyone know and understand how we win, as a team? Can they all see the connection between what they do every day and the aspirations and the progress of the firm? If they can’t, why should they care? If they can’t see how it all fits together how can they understand how important and valuable they are? Making such things clear is a prime function of leadership.
A great team should multiply the efforts of each of its members, but the irony is that a team that isn’t functioning well will divide the efforts of the individual members. Not getting this element right can stop progress dead in its tracks.