50 years ago, almost to the day I am posting this, astronaut Neil Armstrong took his historic steps on the moon.
What an incredible feat…getting people on the moon.
How do you get someone on the moon when no one has every been there before? I am not sure, but I do know one thing it takes: A focus on landing on the moon.
NASA was not going to get astronauts on the moon if their focus was to simply get them into space.
Lesson: Precision on your outcome matters greatly!
Importance of a Precise Focus
Whether you are a team leader or a team member, do you have precision on what you need to focus on in order for the team to be successful? Or, are you just hoping that your team operates effectively?
Are you trying to get to the moon, or are you just trying to get to space?
Every four months, I put my students into teams and I get to observe how they operate. I get to observe what most organizations experience: 65% of teams fail to live up to expectations.
I have learned that the teams that perform at a high level have precision around two things:
- The outcomes they want to create
- The roles they need to play to perform at that level.
Outcomes Teams Need to Create
The are three outcomes teams need to focus on in order to operate at high level.
The first is production output. They need to focus on the accomplishing the tasks and objectives they are responsible for. This is generally something most teams get right. It is the other two that most teams overlook to their detriment.
The other two outcomes are member satisfaction and capacity for continued cooperation. Teams not only need to accomplish the tasks and objectives they are responsible for, but they must do so in a way that the team members enjoy the process and enjoy each other during the process.
These two outcomes generally do not get near enough attention as they are generally overshadowed by production output.
When teams are not focused enough on member satisfaction and capacity for continued cooperation, the path toward production output resembles something akin to pushing a car through the mud.
But, when teams are intentional about member satisfaction and capacity for continued cooperation, the path toward production output resembles something more akin to pushing a car on pavement. Not the easiest task in the world, but it goes much more smoothly.
Roles Team Members Need to Play
In order to bring about all three of these outcomes, team members need to focus on two different roles: task-facilitation and relationship-building. This means that every person needs to dedicate time and energy to playing both of these roles.
My experience observing teams has taught me that 80% of team members focus significantly more on task-facilitation than relationship building. This is generally because they are focused on production output and not on member satisfaction and capacity for continued cooperation. Further, I find that task-facilitators generally view their relationship-building team members as second-class citizens and expendable.
This is a recipe for disaster!
Getting Your Teams to Blast Off
If you want your team to blast off and operate at a higher level, you need to ensure your team is precise on the outcomes it is shooting for and understands the different roles each team member needs to play.
Beyond this precision and clarity, I believe that teams also need to possess at least two mindsets.
First, they need to have an open mindset. Google has found that their top-performing teams share one factor in common: psychological safety. They have created a culture where their team members believe that they can speak up or take risk without fear of negative repercussion. This is only possible if the team members have open mindsets.
Second, they need to have an outward mindset. They need to see their team members as being just as important as themselves. They need to see their team members’ needs, values, and interests as being just as important as their own. They need to see their team members’ as people and not objects. If individuals on the team view themselves as being more important than their team members, there is little chance of fulfilling the relationship-building role and of creating member satisfaction and capacity for continued cooperation.
Do you want to see if your team members have these mindsets, have them all take my free personal mindset assessment (here is a link to share): https://ryangottfredson.lpages.co/personal-mindset-assessment-1/.
In all, if your team wants to be successful, it needs to focus on:
- Production output, member satisfaction, and capacity of continued cooperation
- Being both task-facilitators and relationship-builders
- Having open and outward mindsets.