Real People Real Purpose
Unified Diversity and High Performing Teams must be synonymous. High performing teams are effective teams that are focused on goals and deliver the results they were formed to deliver. They can withstand challenges and changes. They have shock absorbency. They are greater than the sum of their parts.
But what are those parts?
Does any of this sound familiar?
Project Team #1:
This a group of eight who has been asked to implement new underwriting procedures at the country’s largest insurance provider. Ann and Bill have a mutual group of friends. Recently, they have gone on two very romantic dinner dates. They are self-assured millennials who believe that the policy which says that colleagues shouldn’t be personally involved is an antiquated one, and aren’t working too hard to keep their feelings for each other hidden.
Charita is suffering from postpartum depression but her husband doesn’t believe that postpartum depression exists. She has not been to a doctor to report her symptoms. She is the most experienced person on the whole team and knows that despite the fact that she has just returned from maternity leave, the others are relying on her. This adds to the pressure, and chips away further at her mental health.
Fabian, Ewan and Gavin don’t like each other. They are young, strong, capable alpha males who are jockeying for position and beginning to undercut each other in a more blatant way. They seem more interested in one upping each other on this project than in contributing to its deliverables.
Heather and Ira are in their late fifties. They were brought onto this project for their understanding of the old procedures and are supposed to be in charge. But they don’t agree with the changes and feel minimal accountability for the deliverables since they are likely to retire before the project is complete.
Project Team #2:
This is a group of ten telecommunications staff who are supposed to implement a new billing and invoicing system.
Jamal is the best tech person on the team but feels shy about his spoken English, since this isn’t his first language. He has heard Kourtney and Lauren, the company’s resident “mean girls” mock his accent more than once. This has made him reluctant to contribute but it is his knowledge that is often needed most at team meetings.
Omar and Paxton are best friends who want to be allowed to work on the project together. They are putting up a fuss that Omar has been assigned to the billing portion of the project while Paxton has been assigned to invoicing. They are trying to charm their beautiful team lead, Quinn, into letting them stay together. She has a huge crush on Omar and is close to giving in. This would not be beneficial for the project, but she wants his approval, and he is using this as leverage.
Randy, Slate and Taneesha have phenomenal work ethics. They are tired of the debate about whether the old system is better than the new one. They have accepted that the order is to implement the new system, and are getting increasingly more vocal with their criticisms of the slow pace and also what they call “the resident reality show” of the interpersonal group dynamics. All three are putting pressure on Quinn who is starting to feel bullied.
Project Team #3
Here we have a group who have been carefully selected by upper management in their banking district to implement new federal wire transfer legislation. They are the best of the best, and they know it.
Natasha is leading the team because she has more experience and is renowned for her attention to detail.
Mercedes doesn’t like her, and is upset that Natasha was given the lead when Mercedes has more education and a slightly higher rank. She also disagrees with the approach Natasha is trying to take about some key issues.
Umberto has been rundown lately, and continues to lose weight for no reason. There is a lot of cancer in his family. He is terrified and his worry is distracting him.
Vittorio has been making overtures to Willow for months. She continues to rebuff him. He intimidates her so she hasn’t reported his behavior. She doesn’t know how she will work with him on this project, and fears for her job if she doesn’t perform. She has received written warning for some unrelated job performance issues and is afraid that if she reports Vittorio now, no one will believe her.
Xavir and Yaakov love the new legislation and are glad to be pulled off their regular assigned duties to work on this project. Zachary hates it, and he and Xavir and Yaakov have argued quite a bit about the new laws. Their latest discussion got quite intense. Xavir and Yaakov wonder if this is why Zachary has been so quiet around them. They have no idea that Zachary’s drinking is getting out of control and he has started to have a beer in the car on the way to work in the morning to stave off the worst of the shakes.
So What? Who Cares? And Why is this Important to Me!?
People cannot step out of their lives, their histories, their stressors when they arrive at work in the morning. More to the point, they don’t have to in order to become a high performing team.
Instead, a work environment or set of social conditions should be carefully and intentionally cultivated which allows a team to function effectively despite the pesky reality that teams of people are, well, people and only human after all. The team, then, can get out of its own way, and the job can get done. Servant Leaders & Scrum Masters, pay attention here!
High Performing Teams
There is TRUST.
Managers trust their team members. Team members trust each other. Stakeholders trust them all. Trust to accomplish the work they commit to, trust that they are all accountable, trust that they understand what is required of them to contribute to the solution. NO TRUST NO TEAM. It’s that simple.
LISTENING is done with INTENT.
Team members are heard. They can expect to be heard. They are safe to speak without recourse or consequence. If there is a better way, we want to explore it. If there is something missing we want to hear about it. If there is something better we want it, period.
There is OWNERSHIP.
If trust is low and FEAR OF CONFLICT is high, ownership of work to be completed is impossible. Team members are alienated from their work, and unlikely to care about the outcome. The desire to step in and willingly take on work is quickly subdued.
Team members feel ACCOUNTABLE for the outcome or results.
If something better can be done, if a detail is overlooked or failure plagues a solution, every team member is willing to stand up and admit that a problem has occurred and that they are willing to make amends in a manner that benefits the customer, the solution and themselves.
ATTENTION TO DETAIL
This allows for superior results and paves the way for innovation and growth. Without trust, listening with intent, ownership and accountability attention to detail will never be realized and defects will plague every solution that every team puts their hands on.
It is true that the devil is in the details. It is human nature to cut corners where they should not be cut. A work culture and operational climate where attention to detail is facilitated and rewarded leads to better quality and higher revenue.
Please join us weekly on this blog as we journey together through high performance, servant leadership, and business development. It really is possible to do impossible things against impossible odds.