“Today’s teams are different from the teams of the past,” writes Martine Haas and Mark Mortensen in their article “The Secrets of Great Teamwork,” Harvard Business Review, June 2016. As they continue, “They’re far more diverse, dispersed, digital, and dynamic (with frequent changes in membership).” Haas and Mortensen call these kinds of teams 4-D teams.
First, let’s remember that in the world of team building the sequence that most teams go through to becoming a team is the following: “forming, storming, norming, performing.” What we forget is that this original process was created by Bruce Tuckman in 1965. A lot has happened in the last 51 years and yet Michael D. Watkins in his article, “Leading The Team You Inherit,” Harvard Business Review, June 2016, notes the following: “Ultimately new leaders want their people to exhibit high-performance behaviors such as sharing information freely, identifying and dealing with conflict swiftly, solving problems creatively, supporting one another, and presenting a unified face to the outside world once decisions have been made.” Whether it is 1965 or 2016, we want our leadership teams to be very successful.
Martine Haas and Mark Mortensen in their article “The Secrets of Great Teamwork,” Harvard Business Review, June 2016, note there are four key elements to successful teamwork. They are a compelling direction where “People have to care about achieving a goal”, a strong structure where “Every individual doesn’t have to possess superlative technical and social skills, but the team overall needs a healthy dose of both”, a supportive context where all involved have the resources, information and training they need, and finally a shared mindset. As Haas and Mortensen explain, “Distance and diversity, as well as digital communication and changing membership, make them [teams] especially prone to the problems of “us versus them” thinking and incomplete information…. The solution to both is developing a shared mindset among team members - something team leaders can do by fostering a common identity and common understanding.”
This week, before you start thinking about how to reduce turnover on your teams make sure you have the right elements in place for them to be successful.