We have a little hashtag we use when things go our way. When we accomplish what we set out to do. When the team made something materialize out of thin air (and sweat and tears). When they solved the big problem. When we saved the day.
It means a lot to me. It means the Team did WORK. We didn’t just sit in a meeting admiring the problem. We didn’t get defeated or pessimistic. We didn’t turn on each other or turn our backs on each other. Or sacrifice the Team for the WORK. We know #TeamWORK when we see it. We feel it in our bones. But how does it actually work?
There are two important characteristics of every successful team: Diversity and Trust.
Diversity is important because without it, there is no Team. A group of talented people with the same background, the same personality, the same mindset, the same vision, can get quite a bit of work done, together. But they aren’t a Team. A Team’s members bring their strengths to compensate for the others’ weaknesses. They bring perspective, and different approaches to problem-solving. Each member of a team must bring their own passion, inclination, skills, or network. They must add unique value to the WORK.
And it’s a balance.
Each member must also bring their commitment to a shared purpose. And share the Team’s values. Without shared purpose and values, you also don’t have a Team. You have a group of incredible individuals working within the same space. Shared purpose gives focus to their WORK. And shared values plant the first seeds of Trust, the second characteristic of a successful Team.
Trust crates a safe environment for every member to let their uniqueness shine. Without Trust, the diversity of the Team is meaningless. Trust allows each person to share their ideas, and opinions. To give feedback and even criticism. To raise their hand and risk without worry about looking foolish or concern that they’ll be shamed. Trust is what creates the safety to WORK on the edge. To push boundaries, and sometimes fail.
Trust ensures that just as we would never sacrifice the Team for the WORK, we won’t ever have to sacrifice the WORK because of egos on the Team.
When we get it right, it feels like magic. Worthy of #TeamWORK.
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