The assumption that change has to start at the top is wrong. You don’t have to wait for senior leaders to make it a better place.
Managers don’t have to wait for senior management to start a process of organizational revitalization. ~Michael Beer
The first step in building shared vision is to give up the traditional notion that vision is always announced from “on high.” ~Peter Senge
Begin within your own sphere of influence.
Where do you have the greatest influence? Most likely within your own team. Consider the widest sphere that you can impact. This is the place to start.
Take responsibility to provide leadership.
Leadership is more than just good management practices. Leadership is about going somewhere.
. . . → Read More: Stop Waiting for Someone Else to Provide Leadership
The team was excited and energized. They had created a vision that would lead to the breakthrough they had been looking for.
They set goals and identified next steps, roles and communications. They had a great plan and the means to achieve it.
All set, right?
They fell victim to “creative tension.”
Working toward the vision was not as exciting as the process of creating it. At times it was downright mundane.
It was harder than they had anticipated. It required more work, making adjustments to plans, communications and coordination was more difficult.
Some people began to say the vision wasn’t practical. Others decided they really didn’t want the vision after all.
Soon things on the team returned to normal, and life returned . . . → Read More: Prepare for Creative Tension or It May Cloud Your Vision
Did you ever watch in dismay as a good team began to make a series of bad decisions?
It can happen with any kind of team – a work team, sports team, political team, or volunteer team… in any kind of setting – business, government, school, non-profit.
Here’s what happens: The team starts off enthusiastically and moves ahead quickly. Things seem to be humming along, and then, bam! They make some terrible decisions, things come to a screeching halt, and everyone wants to jump ship.
If you’ve ever been a member of one of these teams, you know how devastating it is for all involved. If you wondered what happened, you might find some clues here.
More importantly, if you are currently a member . . . → Read More: Why Good Teams Make Bad Decisions
When Casey got the award at the annual meeting, no one was surprised. He was a marketing genius, and his team’s success was unparalleled in the history of the company. He was clearly a rising star.
The problem was, his fellow team members thought he was a pain in the neck. He wasn’t a team player, he didn’t share information and he kept recognition for himself.
Although aware of Casey’s lack of team skills, senior management was pleased with the results he delivered, and they were afraid that expecting him to be a team player would dampen his brilliance.
They were wrong.
A team can have both brilliant players and great teamwork… if the team is not built around an individual, if team-oriented behaviors . . . → Read More: The 12 Skills of Brilliant Team Members
You might think you’re a team player, especially if you’re the kind of person who gets things done and is committed to helping your team meet its objectives. But if you don’t also pay attention to how your team works together, you may actually be a ninja – acting solo in service of your team.
The problem with being a ninja is you can inadvertently undermine your team’s effectiveness.
Meet James, a Ninja in Disguise.
When James was asked if he would like to join the new product team, he accepted enthusiastically. He had expertise in several product lines, had launched new products before and prided himself in being a team player.
The company was interested in extending their reach into new markets, and . . . → Read More: Are You a Team Player or a Ninja?
In 1996, 51% of US employees were reported to be members of team. By 2006, it had increased to 84%. As our world becomes more complex, the need for teams will continue to grow. Understanding the characteristics of effective teams gives you a target to shoot for and better prepares you to support your team’s development.
Our research* revealed six Benchmarks of Team Excellence:
1) Alignment: Alignment around a shared vision.
All team members are moving in the same direction toward a shared vision. Individual and team goals are related to the purpose of the team. Team members clearly understand their goals and job responsibilities. There is a strong and clear connection between all activities and the purpose of the team.
2) Team Effectiveness: . . . → Read More: The 6 Benchmarks of High Performance Teams
Often the words collaboration, coordination, and cooperation are used to describe effective teamwork. But they are not the same, and when we use these words interchangeably, we dilute their meaning and diminish the potential for creating powerful, collaborative environments.
Collaboration has been a big word in the news lately, most recently due to Marissa Mayer’s explanation of her decision to bring Yahoo employees back to the office: “To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side.”
Mayer’s belief that we work together better when we have real relationships, and that it is easier to build relationships when you have face-to-face contact is not unfounded. Coordination and cooperation is essential for effective and . . . → Read More: Let’s Stop Confusing Cooperation and Teamwork with Collaboration
As a team member, you share responsibility for the success of your team.
If your team meetings are boring or wasting your time, explain the problem from your point of view. Then do a reality test. Do others feel the same way? If they do, there is a team issue, and by putting it on the table you have given your team an opportunity to discuss and solve the problem.
If no one else is having a similar experience, it might be an issue of your own temperament. When you identify in a non-judgmental way what is difficult for you, your team is likely to be willing to make changes. They may even come up with some creative solutions you hadn’t thought of. . . . → Read More: 6 Self-Serving Behaviors That Will Torpedo Your Team
“It was so much easier this year to set our team goals, now that we have a shared vision,” Chris remarked, reflecting on the visioning process they had recently completed. “We are way ahead of the curve this year!”
Was he right? Maybe …. It depends on whether his team’s systems and practices support their vision.
Do their policies and procedures make getting the job done easier or harder?
A team might start off aligned around a shared vision, but unaligned systems and practices can quickly derail them.
Are team members dependent on each other in order to accomplish certain goals? . . . If so, what communication processes are in place so they can effectively coordinate their efforts?
Do any of . . . → Read More: How to Keep Your Team Goals on Track