By Phil Harwood, CSP
Winning teams are not always comprised of those with the most talent. Rather, they are made up of individuals working together to leverage the talents of each person on the team. Though teamwork is one of the greatest competitive advantages, building a culture of teamwork still remains elusive for many organizations. What steps can be taken to build your team into a consistent winner?
First, learn to understand, appreciate and leverage the differences that exist on your team. Each of us was created with unique gifts. Understanding these gifts is step one.
Discovering unique gifts
There are many ways to approach this step of discovering your unique gifts. Consider using personality assessments like Everything DiSC (www.everythingdisc.com) and Clifton StrengthsFinder by GALLUP (www.gallupstrengthscenter.com) to provide insight into your team members’ unique personality differences. This insight allows us to understand ourselves at a much deeper level by exposing how we are wired, explaining our tendencies, and helping us to understand our raw talent.
When each person on the team has a solid grasp of his or her own gifts, it leads to step two - appreciating one another’s gifts.
One of the most powerful discoveries of my career occurred during a management retreat where the team was learning about one another’s personalities. A light bulb went on and I saw my teammates from a new perspective. I saw how each of us contributed to the team in a unique way and began to appreciate this. Others on the team had the same experience and the team was never the same. We had moved from a collection of individuals to a unified team.
When each person on the team has an appreciation for the unique gifts of each team member, it opens the door to step three - leveraging one another’s gifts. Understanding and appreciation are foundational but action is required to capitalize on the opportunity that exists. This is the most difficult step.
Making the tough choices
To leverage our gifts, we must make some tough choices about how we are going to use our gifts to maximize their benefit. Where will we focus? How will we spend more time in our areas of strength? In some cases, this may involve a career or role change. In other cases, it’s simply a question of priorities.
Leveraging each person’s gifts
In the context of a team, when the team is able to leverage the unique gifts of each person, something amazing happens. When each member of the team is able to operate “in the zone” where individual gifts are being effectively used, the more likely the team is to be successful.
Another wonderful resource for team building is application of the Five Behaviors (www.fivebehaviors.com): trust, conflict, commitment, accountability and results. Teams that embrace these behaviors outperform those that do not. The elusiveness of teamwork is often simply due to the absence of one or more of these five behaviors. I highly recommend learning about these concepts and employing them in your teams.
Building your team is an essential requirement of developing a great organization. By taking the steps I’ve outlined, you and your team will begin to discover each other’s gifts, learn to appreciate each person’s unique differences and decide how to optimally leverage these gifts.
State of the Industry 2017
- 51% - Respondents that indicated workforce availability was the No. 1 business challenge that will impact their company in 2017-18. Of the available options, no other challenge exceeded 5% except for Liability and Risk Management (11%).
Phil Harwood, CSP, is president of Pro-Motion Consulting and a member of the Snow Business Editorial Advisory Committee. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.