One of the questions I am often asked is what makes an awesome team? Over the years of working with global teams across industries and service lines, I think there are certainly a few key tenets which Awesome teams possess. They have a method to them, and the best in class teams diligently work towards achieving excellence through a set of formal and informal processes day in and day out. The following aspects clearly stand out on what I think make these teams awesome…
Clear sense of larger purpose: All of the Awesome teams have a well-defined and clear sense of a larger purpose, which is above and beyond their regular performance goals. Together, they have an immense belief in creating significant and positive changes in their larger eco-system of businesses and communities. I also believe that once the larger objectives are created and the teams internalize the same and take ownership, it is almost certain that the performance goals will also be realized on a consistent basis.
Sharp focus on objectives: Awesome teams develop early on an uncanny knack to decipher how to focus on key objectives v/s non-objectives. As in any business, there are many distractions which come as a package and I have seen these teams always quickly zoom in on where to focus, how to prioritize and ignore the noise. Awesome teams are razor sharp and have the phenomenal clarity to focus on objectives and how to deliver.
Ability to Work together, Play together: Awesome teams have an amazing bond to be in it together, always. They develop a phenomenal EQ-connection which helps in dealing with multi-stressful situations. They develop mutual respect for one another. Leadership becomes seamless and they work like a perfect rowing team. It is a sheer joy to observe them in unison, perfected from the huge amount of practice in their daily grind.
Intense willingness to win and differentiate: Winning is a key and essential element for any team. The Awesome teams not only have a much higher intensity and passion to win, but more importantly, they have a knack of being different and win by creating uniqueness. They make it a habit to focus on creating differentiation and winning comes naturally to them.
High integrity and continuous development of leaders: Awesome teams go beyond creating teams and build great institutions. They have immense integrity at their core and do not tolerate mediocrity. I have always seen them diligently working to create the next generation of leaders: training them to be fearless; training them to take bigger and bolder bets; and training them to think beyond the obvious. Awesome teams consciously build a continuous stream of leadership talents.
Asking tough questions: Awesome teams always ask tough questions. They may not have all of the answers; rarely does anyone have all of the answers. However, the act of asking tough questions prepares them to think hard and go beyond their comfort zones. It also rattles them and keeps them on edge, making them sharper. They do not merely look for answers, but they do find clear directions which eventually lead them to finding the right solutions.
I am sure there are many more tenets which could be counted and deliberated as essential for high-performing teams, but Awesome teams stand apart and they are different.