Nov 102014

Does a Broken Bone Heal in Isolation? Does an Organization?

A broken bone does not heal in isolation. The recovery process utilizes the whole body, making the healing faster and more complete.

An organization is a living system, which we can compare to a living organism. Within an organization, there are different functions, much like our hands, feet, heart, and lungs. All of these parts working together make it possible for our body to perform. If one part of the body suffers, the whole system suffers.

The same is true of an organization. If one part of the system is underperforming, the whole organization suffers. When the whole system is involved in progressive development, all parts of the organization are improved.

Most people get promoted because of their individual contributions to an organization. In fact, it may be because they were unlike the rest of the members of a team. Sometimes they are held back because other team members held them back from accomplishing things.

However, the best way to accomplish something in most cases is by having a well-functioning, high performing team. Well-functioning teams can out produce the collective efforts of individuals.

So what conditions are necessary to have a well-functioning team? One of the tools we use in our Ascending Leaders Program™ for Team Development measures two areas: Productivity and Engagement.

Productivity strengths support the team in achieving results, accomplishing goals, and staying on course to reach objectives. Seven productivity attributes are necessary to achieve high team performance:

  1. Alignment: The team has a sense of common mission and purpose.
  2. Goals & Strategies: The team has clear objectives and alignment on strategies and priorities.
  3. Accountability: There is clarity of roles and responsibilities. Team members hold each other accountable.
  4. Proactive: The team embraces change and sees it as vital to the total organization.
  5. Decision Making: There is a clear and efficient decision making process.
  6. Resources: Available resources are well managed to meet objectives.
  7. Team Leadership: The team leader’s role is clear and supportive of the team.

Engagement strengths focus on interrelationships between team members. It is the spirit or tone of the team as a system. Seven engagement attributes of a high achieving team are:

  1. Trust: There is safe environment to speak your mind openly.
  2. Respect: There is mutual respect and genuine positive regard.
  3. Camaraderie: There is a strong sense of belonging to the team.
  4. Communication: Clear and efficient communication is valued over other less direct approaches.
  5. Constructive Interaction: The team sees conflict as an opportunity for discovery, growth, and creativity.
  6. Values Diversity: The team is open-minded and values differences in ideas, backgrounds, perspectives, personalities, approaches, and lifestyles.
  7. Optimism: The team shares an inspiring vision.

A team is not just a collection of individuals; it is a selection of people brought together for a common purpose with identifiable goals, clear roles, and accountability for results.

Every team has its own unique culture that exerts tremendous influence on the team’s ability to perform. Every team member wants to be on a great team and contribute their best. The goal of team coaching is to create the conditions to make that happen.

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