Sunday, January 19, 2014

21st Century Professional : Building Strong Teams To Succeed Not Only to Win

I learned  a while back that when one starts to train for soccer/football, there is a tendency to hold on to the ball and move toward the goal to score..then, we learn that by passing to other team members, the ball travels faster and chance of scoring and winning is higher.

Where I grew up, the boys used to play football in the streets.. even if you know nothing about the game, you can't help but being fascinated by how they play.. more like a dance really.!!
There is mastery, passion,  harmony, trust, hard work, grace and  Fun that is not taken away by the drive to win the game..

"Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships."
Michael Jordan

As professionals, we are all challenged one way or the other by initiatives, projects or even day to day tasks that we have to rely on teamwork to implement or complete. In today's world- at least from my corner- we don't have the luxury to pursue less than excellence when we execute.. or worse, accept less than excellence as the standard because from my point view this is an invitation for complacency that not only compromise performance and results but kills the spirit of continuous improvement and innovation in an organization.

I had the opportunity to be part of different projects with different scales and have to admit that one of challenges I faced was the quality of execution and the lack of distinction between being perfectionist - where there might be diminishing return on improvement- and pursuing excellence and defending it as the standard not the exception.

The positive experiences I had during some of these projects, felt like driving a sport car on a highway with no speed limit vs. driving on local with barriers and limitations.. As much as it requires focus, hard work and descipline.. it was exhilarating imagining the finish line and getting there by delivering objectives of the project on time with grace. You would agree with me that such results cannot be achieved by working in silos even if we are the smartest and the most hardworking talent.. one can achieve and sustain such performance without compromising the positive experience only by building strong teams that master the art of collaboration.

Following are some of the criteria that I believe contributed to successfully managing projects with focus not only on results but on people as well...I hope you and your Teams benefit from it.

  • Trust and commitment - The trust that comes from seeking a common goal and knowing that each will employ their talent and skills to achieve that goal- We are all in the same boat and we know Why
  • Strengths - Team members are bringing their strengths (skills, talents and experience) to the project and are complementing each other- A collective effort to become the solution not the problem when facing issues.
  • Respect - Respect for each other and the difference in point of views and opinions.
  • Diversity - Diversity in education, experience, culture.. it offers fresh perspective and open a gate for creative thinking.
  • Thrive for excellence 
  • Flexibility
  • Passion 
  • Harmony 
  • Collaboration.. Collaboration is Key
  • Strong sense of accountability
  • Learning agility
Also, below are other sources that offers insight on the subjects of culture, collaboration and teams

Build a Tower  Ted Talks By Tom Wujec
Building a High Trust Culture  By Joel Peterson  - Chairman JetBlue Airways, Stanford Business School
Moneyball - Film
The difference between winning and succeeding Ted Talks By John Wooden
Winning With Engaged Teams By Andreas von der Heydt

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