Releasing the juice of ‘team time’
Part of my upbringing as a young executive was participating in, and eventually leading, high performing teams. I felt (and still feel), very privileged to have had so many positive experiences. One of the key contributors to this in my experience is the commitment to regular and high quality time together as a team. So much so, that it’s core to my DNA and something that I take for granted in many ways as management 101.
It baffles me therefore to regularly discover so many team leaders, often at the highest levels, who see team time as a waste of time or unnecessary and in some cases almost an inconvenience – something that gets in the way of the job. For me building cross team relationships and ways of working is the job as a manager – well a big part of it anyway.
Like anything of course, inadequate preparation or clarity about the purpose or scope of an activity will impact its outcome and maybe participating in poorly executed team meetings has coloured their past experiences and as a result their future decisions. For others, it may be that they aren’t wired to collaborate and share in an interdependent way. They may feel more comfortable working alone or being in ‘command and control’ of their own silo, rather than working horizontally or encouraging that in their own team.
A well-developed team uses team time to positively challenge, support and innovate to a level that adds real value both in terms of business/organisational performance and to the individuals themselves. True interdependence (a profound combination of independence, collaboration and intimacy) creates a heady and powerful level of performance often bringing agility, responsiveness, creativity, resilience and rigour.
Our workplaces are increasingly complex and challenging as we all attempt to ride the growing pace of change, the increasing demands and the need for new solutions to long-standing and seemingly at times intractable issues. The age of the solo, super hero is fading fast and investing in high quality teams is, in my view, a prerequisite for success.