As organizations are becoming more and more dependent on teams to remain profitable and sustainable during the ever-changing business contexts they face, the ability to thrive in any context becomes a necessity, not a nice to have for your teams.
It is no longer possible for just the team leader to navigate complexity; the commitment must exist at the team level. Your teams must be ready to adapt and navigate continuous disruption if you want to maintain your competitive edge.
A thriving team will be Always Ready, Always Adaptable, and Always Innovative. Continuously Developing the team to thrive across the spectrum of stable/predictable contexts and uncertain/ambiguous contexts is critical to the team being ready, adaptable, and innovative in all conditions.
In organizations, we are often developed for the “perfect” conditions, but development for the “imperfect” conditions allows teams to embrace the state of becoming as they learn, push, and gain momentum towards the vision they are trying to make a reality.
Why are Thriving Teams a Choice?
Thriving Teams are an intentional choice that requires an investment in the development of a team, not just the leader’s development. One of the authors, Jonathan, was in the Army. Imagine if the military only invested in the leader’s development without collectively developing the team to be ready for the “imperfect” conditions they might face. Seem like a bad strategy? It is probably not the best choice for your organization to invest only in leader development or only develop for the perfect conditions. A Thriving Team requires the power of all team members to do their best work and be confident that the team around them is ready to navigate any curveball thrown their way. Thriving Teams must know they can rely on the people around them even when the experience is uncertain. Thriving Teams feel more secure as a team than as individuals.
Another choice most organizations make is to put together a group of high performers and give them a goal. This assumption that putting a group of high performers together around a collective goal is the magic fast pass to a high-performing team causes many organizations to lose money, destroy their intended culture, and often lose those high performers to other organizations. Would a sports team of high performers go right into the championship game with no development, no practicing together, and no less-stakes games? Again, it seems like a bad strategy, unless it is something meant to be fun like the All-Star game in baseball. It is probably not the best choice for your organization to only invest in hiring or developing high performers out of the context of the team. A Thriving Team requires intentional development as a team to learn together and create breakthroughs together. A Thriving Team must practice as a team, perform as a team, learn from those practices and performances, and develop for the next performance. Thriving Teams learn together.
How to More Intentionally Choose Thriving Teams?
When your business strategy values team development with equal if not greater importance than leadership development, you will begin to see the transformation at the team level. An organization’s profitability, the team’s performance, and an individual’s employee experience are all impacted by the interactions happening at the team level. Yet, we find very few of our clients think about the team as a system worth developing. Small changes in the choices you make can significantly impact the team-level interactions, which will affect the organization and the individual. Here are a few changes you could make to push toward Thriving Teams:
Learning together as a team will develop the muscle to notice the signals in the environment lead to:
- making more effective decisions during ambiguity and uncertainty
- improving the relationships on the team
- uncovering blind spots limiting performance
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