Most of us work inside organizations that depend greatly on the performance of groups or teams. By default, that means individual contributions while valuable, are not always equal. That’s just the way it is. This can play out in various ways, especially in organizations with multiple partners, shareholders, or owners, where each plays a different role “in” the business.
Popular business author and consultant, Patrick Lencioni, has written about the importance of organizations embracing the concept of being both “healthy and smart”. By smart, Lencioni means to say that being effective at the basics such as sales/marketing, operations, manufacturing, etc. is essentially a given, table stakes if you will. He argues that being smart in today’s environment will not create a competitive advantage in most cases. Being healthy, on the other hand, is a rare quality that can and often does lead to a competitive advantage.
Lencioni defines team health in various ways. Healthy teams are comfortable with constructive conflict. They worry when conflict is not present. Individuals understand their roles within the team and willingly sacrifice short-term personal success for long-term organizational success. A high degree of trust is present where individuals are accountable for their roles inside the team. Owners and partners working with their teams “on” the business while often being the ultimate decision makers, rarely if ever use their status to further their personal agenda.
In short, healthy teams and great companies have figured out how to consistently work for the greater good of the organization.
Whether you’re an owner, leadership team member, or both, here are three things you can do tomorrow to help your team get healthier:
- Stop asking “why” questions and start asking “what” questions. Rather than “Why is my idea not winning the debate?” Ask, “What can I do to support that other idea?”
- Be vulnerable. Admit to yourself that you don’t have all the answers, that there’s power in collective thinking and ask for help.
- When things are not going your way, ask yourself if you’re advocating for yourself or for the greater good?
I continue to be blessed with great friends, colleagues, clients and most importantly my family. I thank each of you for your support.