The power of group
Working as part of a group or a team isn’t always the easiest thing to do – especially when they are people that you haven’t chosen to spend time with, such as in the workplace. We can often trip over all sorts of differences, ways of working and attitudes that may make it harder to step toward the holy grail of collective working and collaboration.
However, collective working and learning how to work quickly and successfully in teams that form and reform around core business needs and new creative solutions, will increasingly become a core requirement of successful working life. We are seeing just how resilient and agile we are needing to be, and old formal structures don’t serve well when speed and creativity are required.
Zappos shoes has been experimenting in this area for some time now through the application of an approach called holocracy and self-managing teams. They have dismantled much of the old pyramid style organisational structure and developed groups that work in an agile way in service of the customer.
Working successfully in groups and teams requires a higher level of maturity from team members – the ability to really focus on their own self-awareness and emotional intelligence as well as rise above any need to be in charge, the leader, or the boss. Leadership and accountability are needed from all members of successful teams – especially when self-managing. Of course, governance structures (such as objective setting and measurement) along with reward structures need to be shifted in favour of group success rather than solely individual success.
More though than the practicalities of building effective groups and teams, is the underpinning attitude and mind-set. The degree to which each person wants to see themselves as part of a bigger collective and to commit themselves to the collective success rather than their own ego needs. It also calls us to place our full attention on the purpose of our work rather than our own personal achievement.
Leading teams of people to higher levels of group mind-set requires a wide scale review of one’s own attitudes as a leader (to power, control and success), as well as the cultural and process/procedural norms that will enable success.
The payback of moving from individual hero style performers to truly successful team players and groups comes on many levels. The level of efficiency, the level of innovation, the level of motivation and satisfaction. It also comes in knowing that we are honouring a deeper truth – a truth that in fact we are all interconnected, and the more equipped and skilled we are in being able to value and pay attention to others as we work, the more we will feel a deeper sense of oneness.