First, when seeking to create a shared mindset at the team level, Michael D. Watkins in his article, “Leading The Team You Inherit”, Harvard Business Review, June 2016, writes, “To get everyone aligned the team must agree on answers to four basic questions:
- What will we accomplish?
- Why should we do it?
- How will we do it?
- Who will do what?
Answering these four questions unites the team at a foundational level.
Second, I think there is more that is needed, namely a commitment to “structured unstructured time,” a term Martine Haas and Mark Mortensen use in their article called “The Secrets of Great Teamwork.” Harvard Business Review, June 2016. I saw it best applied this past summer when a CEO took his entire team out to dinner after an intense, day long strategic dialogue about the future. That evening I listened to two different sets of conversations and was delighted to see that no one was talking about work. Instead, they were using this structured unstructured time to get to know each other better and to share more about their history. When they gathered the next morning, it was obvious that the group was more connected, relaxed and focused.
Third, I think it is important to teach people how to make meaningful decisions. People need to understand that it is a four stage process, namely planning to making a decision, making a decision, implementing the decision and then evaluating the decision. The thing that unites a team the most is when everyone on the team is using the same method of planning when making a decision. When in-depth clarity about the strategic nexus, i.e. the unity of the mission, vision and core values plus the strategic plan, in combination with a high degree of confidence in the competency of the other members of the team, then the team stays united through the normal ups and downs of today’s corporate life.
This week, remember that building teams and maintaining teams is paramount right now to short and long term success. As Oren Harari wrote in his book, The Leadership Secrets of Colin Powell, McGraw-Hill, 2002: “Leadership is, ultimately, responsibility, and it's the ultimate responsibility.”