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5 Reasons Teams Fail

Teams are still a hot topic in the business world. I remember the impact of total quality movements on team development and functionality. And, likewise there were both successes and failures on the business side.

There were consultants and researchers studying the reasons for success and failure in total quality teams. There results were also all over the board so success was harder to grasp.

While there are many reasons for team failures including two of the bigger issues – lack of a common or shared goal and a lack of individual responsibility or accountability to get their share of the results. The latter reason is my focal point for this article.

There are Five Reasons Teams Fail, check these out and see if your teams have any of these issues to correct.

T.E.A.M.S. Uncovers What Makes Your Teams Successful or Not

Ran across another Dysfunctional Team last week and since books have been written about this topic, I thought you might want to know about how to uncover just what makes a team great, poor or average. The interesting thing about this process is when you ask the team using an assessment or interviews, they will tell you what’s going on, what’s causing any issues and why they are doing well.

Team members know the answers to these questions, managers and leaders just need to take the time to ask them for the facts. They are ready, willing and wanting to share with everyone the details of the team performance.

While there are several methods to uncover information about any team, department, division, group or in the case of a small company – the whole company. So what does this assessment called T.E.A.M.S. measure?

Bottom-Line Effects of Team Dysfunction

How It Heightens Disengagement and Costs You Millions

Dysfunction in a team will usually result in poor performance and inadequate productivity, but the effects of team dysfunctions on the employees themselves just might be far more serious and much more costly.

When a team becomes dysfunctional you can expect disengagement to follow as individuals may lose sight of team goals, not understand their role in the team and wait for direction to make any progress.  Statistics say that the average employee is disengaged two hours each day.  Could dysfunctional teams be contributing to disengagement in your organization?  If so, just how does it affect your bottom-line?

Disengagement is not a small concern.  Take, for example, a company with 100 employees who work full time at an average wage of $25 per hour.  What is disengagement costing them?  The productivity they could be losing due to disengagement is worth an estimated $1,200,000.

Determining the cost of disengagement within your organization is an important step in tackling this talent management burden.  Then, consider implementing organizational and team multi-rater surveys that give everyone in the organization the opportunity to speak up and help you determine the real root of disengagement.  Perhaps it is dysfunction in a team, job misfit, mismanagement, lack of motivation or other personnel-related issues.  No matter what the cause, identifying it, addressing it and implementing a solution will make a dramatic difference on your bottom-line.

Dysfunction in the Workplace

In Patrick Lencioni’s best-selling book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, he tells a tale of a firm’s executive team struggling with utter dysfunction.  Ineffective communication, multiple egos, fear, office politics and judgmental attitudes were all contributing to the absence of dynamics and poor performance.

Does this sound familiar to you?
Have you experienced a dysfunctional team in your career?

If yes,  you are not alone.  Most everyone has either been a part of, observed or even faced the challenge of leading a dysfunctional team like the one Lencioni describes.  In fact, he says, “Teams, because they are made up of imperfect human beings, are inherently dysfunctional.”

Teams Work Best with a Common Goal

Teams work best with a common goal should be a clearly understood requirement for team leaders. However, for various reasons a common goal is not used as it should be used. There are a couple of reason for lacking a common goal within work teams.

First, no one brings up the actual goal for a team. Many times the discussions within a team are about activities, tasks, and to do’s. They leave out the most important part that clarifies direction for the teams operational results.

Second, no one can agree upon one goal for the team. Each person defines their role within the team based upon what they want to do or whatever is their personal agenda. Therefore, the team is splinted and moving toward different goals – usually conflicting goals which pulls apart a team. The biggest ego usually wins the day and many are left feeling left out or purposeless.

Third, a goal has been set by one person either inside or outside the team, yet, has not shared the goal with anyone working on the team. Therefore, misalignment or a lack of focus wins the day. The leader who does not share the overall common goal is undermining the performance of the team. This factor also eliminates or reduces any discussion by the team members about the target. Therefore, individual and team commitment is lowered – again reducing the level of performance of the team.

Common goals are just that – known as the common target for the team. It should be fully discussed and all positions or agendas should be placed upon the table. Open discussion creates commitment and buy-in by the team members allowing for higher levels of performance and results. A side note to the open discussion – better results, expectations and methodology for results are usually created using open discussion and listening to each members points of view.

Teams need a common goal for clear focus and execution for attainment. Team leaders need to start a team project with open discussion about the common goals and listen to the alternatives for results. Sometimes the unexpected results or path becomes clear using open dialogue.

If you are looking for better understanding of team dynamics and the use of common goals within teams, contact the InnerActive Consulting Group at 901-757-4434. Ask for Voss Graham when you call.

How do You Select Members of a Team?

Many will agree that people are the most important asset of an organization. More importantly, however, is how well those people work together to accomplish a common goal.  Whether a company has
thousands of people working in various locations worldwide or just a handful working in one small office, teamwork is vital to success.  So, how can you ensure that your teams are performing at their fullest
potential?  How do people contribute to the team differently?  Have you built effective teams?

To begin answering these questions, you must learn how to really understand each member of the team to
identify their work style and how it compares to others in the group.   You also need to look at the inherent
strengths that each person brings to the table.  Not their expertise or their background, but those things they seem to be good at just because that is who they are.

Once you understand the team members, you can not only build a team with the most effective combination
of strengths, but you can also learn how to leverage each individual’s strengths for a dynamic team that
works at its highest potential.  Only then will teams reach goals that have been unattained by individuals,
work at levels of productivity no single person can achieve or impact the bottom line more effectively as a
group.  In fact, maybe we should revisit the assets of an organization.  Perhaps TEAMS are more important
than people on their own?

A Senior Vice President for a Technology Company discovered the importance of using assessments to assist in selecting a diverse yet functional group to lead a very important company project. His first attempt had been a failure because he selected a team consisting of passive and non results oriented individuals. His second Team consisted of a balance of results oriented, active, detailed, persistant, and influential individuals that produced the project in record time, within budget and a quality product ( as described by their customers.).

To learn more about using assessments in selected or evaluating Team Effectiveness, call me at 901-757-4434. We have been implementing assessments within team for over eighteen years with outstanding results for our clients.

DISC tells us about Team Effectiveness

The key to understanding the makeup of your team and each member’s unique strength is a common format for identifying and understanding each person’s work habits, strengths and communication preferences. Using this information allows for a clear understanding of who is capable of delivering upon the expectations of the team.

There are many ways you can classify people through observation and identify what “type” of person they
are.  One of the most common theories addressing styles of communicating is the theory of DISC.  Derived
from the early work of William M. Marston, the theory has since been applied to the world of business and
used in a number of different ways to better understand, appreciate work with and manage people.

In team building, utilizing the theory of DISC helps team members truly understand why everyone is
different, what each individual’s strengths are, and how each person contributes to the team.  Remember,
communication is more than what someone says.  In fact, communication is more about what people do, or
how they act. DISC considers all aspects of communication, from the words we use to how body language
affects communication.  By providing a common language with which to speak about our differences, DISC
allows us to recognize other “types” of people, understand them better and leverage their strengths.  With
DISC, the team can be more cohesive, more productive and more efficient.

DISC also allows us to look at team dynamics in a whole new light, making sure that a well-rounded group
provides all the strengths needed for success, and each member is in a role that suits them best.  Which
person is best to lead?  Who should handle the details?  What is the best combination for small work groups
within the team?

With DISC, it is easy to identify team dynamics to begin strengthening your company’s biggest asset.  Even
if you have a team of star performers, they are only reaching half of their potential if they don’t work well
together.  Imagine the possibilities if everyone came together to work effectively as a team.

Contact us about how to implement DISC within your organization. Call us at 901-757-4434.

Soft Skills are Hard

Soft skills are hard for the corporate world – really they are hard for most people. Why? Because the soft skills are less tangible regarding results. This factor allows for some managers and executives to devalue the worth of the soft skills.

Often we are told by managers in corporate environments that they do not want anything that is soft. They want hard, tangible skills for their people. Again, Why? Because they feel (actually they think rather than feel) that the so called “hard skill” training and development will ensure success and results.

How incorrect is this? Big time! Soft skills rule in the success and high performance avenues. The research that has been conducted on high performers – shows that the hard skills knowledge has no bearing on the results – yet, there is a direct relationship to the soft skills.

Let me use a sports analogy to show the difference. As some of you know I am a dedicated fan of college football. Therefore, I watch a large number of teams each weekend during the season. Three factors show up – 1. The best programs are at the top of the rankings every year. 2. Any team can win on any given weekend – no matter who is the competitor. and 3. The best coaches appear to really work the mental side of winning games – the soft skills side of the equation.

Now looking at the three factors a little closer, the winning programs do appear to get the best available talent every year. Yet, no one seems to dominate their league anymore. This is due to the limits placed upon all teams regarding number of players they can have on the team. Therefore some good players go to competitors.

The second factor shows that this balancing effect of player limits has improved the talent levels of every team. This shows up on game days where the favorites are defeated. How often has a team from the top five been defeated this year? No team is guaranteed a victory for just showing up. This is hard for a large number of fans to accept, yet it is a reality.

The third factor – the one dealing with the soft skills or mental edge – appears to be the difference maker. The top coaches are masters of using psychology to get their players ready for every game – not just the big ones. The best motivators get their players to win the games they are supposed to win and play the entire game against good competition. This is the source of the winning edge – the ability to deal with adversity and not panic, the ability to expect to win, to visualize the final score, to have the faith in your teammates that everyone will do their part to seal the victory. This is the world of soft skills.

Organizations should understand this important factor and get their staffs on the winning side of the mental game. Hard skills are important – yet, the soft skills ensure the proper use of the hard skills to win. If you believe that there is a need for more soft skill training in your organization – call us at 901-757-4434. We offer several processes for establishing the winning attitudes for your team. We also have assessments that can check the soft skill potential of the players.

Do not Abandon Your Growth Plans

It is amazing to me how fast companies, leaders and sales people are abandoning their growth plans during this time of economic turmoil. Truth is, this is the best time to create a competitive advantage in the marketplace. How? By maintaining a mindset of abundance over scarcity. The chicken little’s of the world are having a grand time explaining how the world is coming to an end as we have known it for the past century.

While it is true that some things have changed and will change in the future – the key is to not panic and join the chicken little club. It is time to stand up for what is right and prepare for a new future. The sky is still above us and we can win. Adversity is a character building opportunity rather than a panic zone trigger.

Personally, I believe that this time can be utilizied to create new opportunities for an organization and clients. The method we are using is to invest in our infrastructure.  New technology and the means of serving our clients faster, easier and with more value has become a priority. It is also a time to create new products and services for our clients to use in the future. Most importantly, it is a time to build and rebuild relationships with clients, old clients and potential clients.