In coaching teams for the past half-decade, here are a few things I've noticed:
- Most teams aren't true teams. They're working groups that come together at scheduled times to update each other on their activities. And they're often in denial about this.
- Building a true team is elusive. It takes concerted effort, hence why most teams aren't true teams.
- It's worth it. When you see a true team in action, and witness what they can accomplish, it's amazing.
The simple definition of a true team is a group of people who work together to accomplish something as a group that could not be accomplished by individuals. Teams get more done, more effectively, and with greater results.
So how do you get there? I've studied this for some time and true teams seem to develop with four things at their foundation:
- Trust. Tons of it. Built consistently over time.
- Purpose. They all know where they are going as a team and it feels important and urgent.
- Clarity. They know who does what, why, and how.
- Culture. They have nuances, traditions, ways of communicating, a lexicon, and mannerisms all their own.
True teams aren't built by accident, and they don't simply occur if we work together long enough. They must be built intentionally, with effort and consistency, and by a leader who cares enough to prioritize team over things that seem urgent but really aren't important.
Are you that kind of leader?