“Healthy Organization” Foundation #2: Team
The second element for a “healthy organization” is a true team. I’ve been in many organizations where the CEO says, “We have a great team here!”. The reality is often quite different.
In the most innocent circumstance, the team simply hasn’t jelled around a common goal but all are actively trying to do the best they can with, at least, respect for each other. It would be like having a professional football team take the field on offense without having a play called in advance. After the snap, everyone would do what they do best but the results would probably not be very rewarding.
A step further in the direction of dysfunction is when team members actively pursue their own agendas without regard for consequences to the team. This can happen out of selfishness or simply because individual team members are not paying attention to the needs of other team members. Think of a manufacturing company where the Sales Manager sells a job with too aggressive promises for delivery, the Manufacturing Manager streamlines operations for efficiency without taking into account the need to satisfy customers and the Quality Manager pursues perfect quality at the expense of timely delivery. Overall not evil, but definitely suboptimal.
In the most destructive cases, team members actively work to undermine or discredit other team members. I’ve seen this scenario lead to outright organizational failure where the company may survive but the individual managers rarely do.
One note on the functioning of teams: teams are not natural in organizations. They must be formed and forged by the leader(s) in the context of daily operations. So, if a team is not operating up to its full potential, look first to the leader of the team.
What makes up a truly effective team? The following attributes will all be in evidence:
• Commitment to a common goal.
• Shared values.
• Trust of each other and willingness to be open with each other.
• Fearless engagement in “constructive conflict” to resolve issues.
• Team members hold each other accountable for team performance.
• Willingness to put team interests ahead of personal or department interests.
How is your team? Give it a rating on a scale of 0-10 for each of the above factors, 10 being excellent. Add up the scores. Anything less than an 8 for an individual factor or 48 total deserves attention.
(Click HERE and see all 5 elements to a healthy organization.)