Weekly meeting. It’s 10:00 am. Four of the six team members are present and two have not yet arrived. Review of results and activities begins. The results are below expectations and half of the activities are not done. The manager is helpless. How to create a dream team that gets results and things done? What does it take?
There has been a conflict between two team members and they have reached a point where they have decided that they should not talk to each other. The entire team senses the tension. The manager doesn’t want to get involved because it’s a problem between two people. The situation is unhealthy, all parties suffer, and the team is underperforming. What’s different about the dream team? What should a leader do in such a situation?
These are examples of team challenges that come into team coaching. Every manager wants to have a dream team and every team member also wants to work in a dream team. Unfortunately, it has to be said that in real life there are few dream teams rather than many. This is because a group of people is not yet a team – they grow into a dream team, and the role of a leader is to create systems that support growing into a dream team.
Leadership and team sports have a lot in common. The word coach was used in sports when Timothy Gallway discovered the “inner game” in tennis training and proved that a person’s performance is not only based on his physical ability, but also requires mental, emotional and spiritual ability. Coaching quickly moved from sports to business, and the training of mental, emotional and spiritual abilities is practiced by managers and team coaches in many companies today.
In one of his presentations, sports coach Alain Goudsmet, who is training for the Olympics, aptly pointed out 9 important steps in growing into a dream team. Exactly the same principles that work in sports also work in business. By the way, Alain also trains many companies and teams today who want to achieve top results in business.
9 steps to growing a team:
Stage 1 – Team Alignment
- An inspiring goal – the team needs to know what is the game we are playing, what goal is being pursued, and how they will know that they have reached the goal. A well-formulated goal is engaging and aligns the entire team to move in the same direction.
- Agreements and values of the team – in order for the collusion to work, the team members must know what the rules of the game are for the team: what values are we following, how the agreements are adhered to, etc. In the first example given at the beginning of the article, it was clear to understand that there are no agreements in the team and thus it is difficult to play the same game.
- A climate of trust – Team members need to know that agreements work and that they can rely on each other. When creating a trusting atmosphere, it is very important that the two previous steps are well in place, discussed together in the team and the game plan agreed upon. If you have completed the first three steps, you do not yet have a dream team, but a solid group of people working towards a common goal.
Stage 2 – Building Team Commitment
- Roles – Once the team is aligned, it’s time to hone in on people’s individual contributions. Each team member must know what role he plays on the field. For example, you could not even win a game on the football field if everyone was attacking and there was no one defending. When each team member knows what their role is, what is expected of them and what results they have to deliver, only then does the real teamwork begin.
- Motivators – topics that motivate team members, what they dream about, what their passion is. A deeper understanding of each team member helps unlock that person’s true potential within the team. While the first stage focuses on the team as a whole, the second stage helps highlight the uniqueness of each person in the team.
- Natural talents – a person is 6x more committed and 3x happier in life in general when they can use their natural talents. When team members know each other’s talents, there is room for growth and development. NB! Talent and role are two different things! It is good to identify motivators and natural talents in a team based on a common framework, such as the Gallup strengths test. It also gives the team a common language to talk about motivators and talents.
If the team has successfully passed the first two stages, then it is able to achieve results. Is that enough or do you want to develop your team into a dream team?
Stage 3 – Team Development
- Learning from experience – Taking time for regular breaks, reflection and feedback is a very important step in growing your dream team. If we are in a constant spiral, we do not learn anything new, but pauses, reflection and feedback create change. In the dream team, we constantly want to learn and develop. A good way to take breaks, give feedback and develop as a team is, for example, team coaching.
- Integration of newcomers – every team changes from time to time, someone finds a new challenge or new players join the team. If a strong team has been created with the previous steps, new team members will not disrupt the game, the team’s performance will not decrease, and the integration of new team members will be easy and smooth.
- Transparent monitoring of results – in the dream team, all goals and results are public, incl. personal development goals. Development goals are set by involving the team, honest feedback is valued and accepted.
If the team has completed all three stages and implemented all nine steps, congratulations! – you have probably been able to put together a dream team where people want to work and where talented people want to come to work.
All in all, the dream team has a common goal, the rules of the game have been agreed upon and they trust each other. Each team member knows how they contribute to the success of the team, what the motivators and talents of other team members are. The dream team learns from experience, takes regular breaks and analyzes what went well and what didn’t. New team members do not disrupt the entire team dynamic, but are integrated quickly and efficiently. The dream team has transparency and trust.
Where is your team today? Ready to start the journey to build your dream team?