Students spend twelve, sixteen, or even more years being taught “do your own work” and “don’t look at anyone else’s paper.” So they graduate as solo performers and then head off to find their way in an increasingly team-based world.
Somewhere along the way, top performers have figured out that the winning formula almost always includes a team. They seem to be better at building teams, aligning teams toward common objectives, and working together to achieve those objectives.
It’s remarkable how many standout top performers excel at mastering team dynamics. One top performer in particular comes to mind. While studying the performance of top financial professionals in a global organization, we quickly realized that the best in the role were highly dependent upon leading and working with a team. The organization, however, designed and managed the role as one of an individual performer.
We didn’t realize just how impactful the team aspect was until we sent out the draft list of outcomes for review. Our standout top performer not only reviewed it but also pulled his team together for an all-day working session. The purpose of the session was to review his role outcomes with him. He wanted to make sure the outcomes correctly captured all the team dynamics and how the work was shared among the team members. After the team members finished reviewing the outcomes, they then spent time reviewing their own operating procedures against this model of excellence to see what improvements they could make to their already best-in-the-organization performance.
This makes us wonder why working successfully in teams is not emphasized more in our education system.
Question to ponder:
- How do you encourage team collaboration?