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Open Secrets For Creating High-performance Teams

The best team members take responsibility for the experience the company is creating, even though it may not be a part of their day-to-day activities.

Collaboration and teamwork is a pre-requisite for Agile ways of working and delivering high-value outputs to produce the desired outcomes for our clients and end-users.

In the following dialogue, we will be discussing some secrets for creating high-performance teams.

Open Secret # 1

Always work to provide leadership, relationship and scope for creativity.

Many and most of the team members think that they have been hired strictly for what is written on their profile/resume: skills and their experience. Honestly, it is only 33% true. Everyone should know that their capabilities are only one-third of the pie; other parts of the pie are providing direction and providing confidence.

How does a team member provide direction when it does not fall under their job titles? It is important to keep in mind that it is best to provide direction in the area that falls under your unique skills and abilities; otherwise, it would not come across as credible.

Many folks do not realize that confidence is just the tonic that any organization, project or business requires to be successful. It is our job to provide the right kind of environment for our team members so that they can demonstrate and exercise confidence. Trust people to do the job and they would just do fine and at times, better than your expectations.

Speaking about creativity, team members sometimes think that only the people who innovate and initiate new ideas are creative. Well, that is also only partially true. If you are involved in doing some research, you can be creative in terms of how information is gathered, stored, analyzed, and presented. If you are someone who is best when it comes to organization, you are creative when you are creating new integrative systems that allow people/end-users to access what they need, quickly and efficiently.

Always remember to be on the lookout for ways to produce faster, easier, cheaper, bigger and better results.

Open Secret # 2

Focus on results and not just the time and effort required.

Let’s understand this with the help of an example:

Manager: I am so disappointed that we did not close this contract. It was vital for our success for the current quarter and we have blown it way.

Team Member: But we put in a lot of time, we worked nights and over 2 weekends and a lot of effort to put all things together; doesn’t that count for anything?

Manager: Since we did not get the contract, No!

The team member leaves feeling hurt and misunderstood.

I am sure we have all faced this situation several times in our careers. In truth, both are right. The employees need to understand that management, sponsors, and shareholders live in the RESULT ECONOMY and not time and effort economy.

In the TIME AND EFFORT ECONOMY, one has job security along with the paycheck, whereas in the RESULT ECONOMY, the risk is 100% and there is no guarantee for the next dollar cheque.

So how does the team realize what the desired result is?

The answer is quite simple – ASK!

In the current fast-paced world, it is easy for others to assume that we think and understand the project and its related outcomes like they do. However, you need to be sure that you’ve understood your employer’s mindset.

Always ASK – What is it supposed to look like when it’s done and done well?

Open Secret # 3

Take full ownership of your projects; have an ownership attitude.

Is Responsibility=Blame? – The new paradigm.

To most people, taking on responsibility also means getting prepared to take the blame in case something goes awry.

Responsible means – “Able to respond!” One of the best phrases is “It is not my job.” Is the success of your company important to you? If yes, then it is your job.

The best team members take responsibility for the experience the company is creating, even though it may not be a part of their day-to-day activities. They know that it’s important and find a way to make the right things happen, usually by engaging other team members to help solve the problem.

The broader perspective is vital; not everything in projects/business is defined, crystal clear, predictable, and consistent. Unexpected things are going to happen and the whole team needs to be ready to be able to respond.

Our greatest lessons and learnings come when things do not go as expected and we still manage to solve the problems by improvising and carry on with the plan.

If you never take a risk, if you never make a mistake, you’re playing safe. One can do all the research one wants, but at some point, one must take action and learn from what happens in real life.

Always know - what can go wrong? What is the worst-case scenario? Plan yourself upfront so that these situations do not occur, and on similar grounds, find what success looks like and what one needs to do to achieve it?

All of us need to know that if we want to grow professionally, we need to be prepared to grow personally too.

Open Secret # 4

Be Open - Be receptive to new ideas and initiatives. Prepare and Plan for change.

Staying open to new ideas and thoughts can be a huge challenge. We often get comfortable with our ways of thinking and doing things and believe that is the only way of doing things. It takes courage and willingness to get out of our comfort zone and entertain a new/different approach.

Teams become better at their duties when they can look at the situation from the product owner’s or end user’s viewpoint. They need to be receptive to different kinds of thought processes.

If a team looks at the changes as interruptions then it would hamper the growth and progress of the organization as a whole.

Each team member should be willing to go outside of their comfort zone and consider new ideas and opportunities.

One should always pay attention to patterns of activities, calls, and other similar events to be able to anticipate what’s coming in next.

Every role (not limited to the 3 roles in Scrum Team) in Agile ways of working needs to work towards these open secrets; they’re known to all of us; this is nothing new (old wine in new a bottle). We only need to embrace and practice them in real projects.

It takes courage to be different. It requires respect of all those involved in this journey and there has to be openness in the discussion of ideas and thoughts and be ready to agree to disagree. You need a commitment from all stakeholders, roles, and colleagues to implement and try new ideas and experiments. Remember, we all need to collaborate and trust each other’s abilities to expand and enhance our thought process.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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