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How to create a winning team?

13.10.2016

How to create a winning team?

Great things in business are never done by one person, they're done by a team of people.” -Steve Jobs 

Achieving things through team effort is way more powerful and proactive than doing so individually, no matter how talented or skilled you are. But not all teams manage to produce the best results. So, the question remains:  How to create the winning team? 

Patrick Lencioni wrote an excellent book titled "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team". Those five dysfunctions are: absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability and inattention to results.

Our colleague Aldin used an approach from the book to find the recipe for creating a victorious team.

We start with the trust. Trust is the foundation of all cohesive, functioning teams. In the context of building a team, trust is the confidence among team members that their peers’ intentions are good and there is no reason to be protective or careful around the group.

It is only when team members are truly comfortable being exposed to one another that they begin to act without concern for protecting themselves. But achieving vulnerability based trust is difficult because traditionally people learned to be competitive with their peers and protective of their reputations to achieve career advancement. It is a challenge to turn those instincts off for the sake of the team, but it is very necessary for today's business environment. 

By building trust, the team makes conflicts possible because team members do not hesitate to engage in passionate and sometimes emotional debate knowing that they will not be punished for saying something that might otherwise be interpreted as destructive or critical. It is worth mentioning that by conflicts, we assume productive ideological conflicts, not destructive fights. We need have conflict over ideas and issues in order to reach the best possible outcome. This can be achieved only when all sides are comfortable to freely express themselves. Trust also helps us speak up without fear of being wrong or getting mocked.

If we do not strongly express our ideas and opinions related to the team and the road ahead, we can not expect to achieve a achieve buy-in. Where there is no buy- in, there is a lack of commitment. It does not matter if our opinion was the right one or not. It matters that we get heard and our opinion considered. Contribution needs to be felt and appreciated. Only with this clarity are we going to achieve a buy-in and the people from the team will commit to the work with enthusiasm. 

Without a clear commitment, accountability for the work is a blur. As unusual as it may sound, peer pressure is the best way of holding one another accountable. If we are in a team, and we see our teammate is not doing what they are committed to, we should point that out – hold them accountable. By not doing so, we are endangering our team of not delivering the expected outcome.

The final piece of the puzzle is the actual team result. If someone does not hold us accountable, we tend to drift away from team goals and focus on our personal goals. This shift of focus is the ultimate team killer.

Everything is easier said than done. Building trust between team members in order to start arguing ideas more constructively and openly takes a lot of time, effort, and patience. Holding people accountable is also not an easy task. But at the end of the day, this is the only way everyone will feel team victories as their own and become true team players.