Is Your Team, Your Competitive Advantage?

Is Your Team, Your Competitive Advantage?

Having worked with many diverse teams within various organizations for the past 10 years, the one thing that has stood out for me is that, the single most untapped competitive advantage is not your products or expensive marketing campaigns, it’s simply teamwork. A group of inspired people all rowing in the same direction with a unified purpose.

Even more importantly, if you don’t know WHY you’re a team in the first place, then you are setting yourselves up for sub-optimal results and possible failure.

“Not finance. Not Strategy. Not Technology. It is Teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it is so powerful and so rare” – Patrick Lencioni

When was the last time you sat down with your team and talked about the “vision” and or “mission” of the team and how it aligns with the overall vision of the company?

[bctt tweet="Have you taken a deep dive into how you will function as a team? " username="HankVDMChannel"]Ensuring each team members daily, weekly and monthly goals and tasks are driving towards achieving that vision?

What are your team norms? Is there a high degree of trust or is everyone just nodding their heads yet doing their own thing anyway? Do you engage in a healthy dose of constructive conflict and hold each other accountable with the attitude that “your success and your team’s success cannot be separated”?

One thing I am certain of and that is, if you do not have a clearly articulated purpose as a team, then what will you fight for and how will you know when you have accomplished that which you have set out to achieve?

 “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
“I don’t much care where –”
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
–  Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

As an accredited Partner of “The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team” (Based on the best-selling book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni)

We use this model to help teams learn how to work more effectively and efficiently together, ultimately becoming a more cohesive and productive Team.

Some of the results from these high-functioning teams have been:

  • They make better, faster decision
  • Tap into the skills and opinions of ALL members
  • Avoid wasting time and energy on politics, confusion and destructive conflict
  • Avoid wasting time talking about the wrong issues and revisiting the same topics over and over again because of a lack of buy-in
  • Create a competitive advantage
  • Is way more fun to be on!

As you plan for 2016, ask yourself: “Could my team work more cohesively and could they improve on their results”?

If you answered “yes” to this question, then let’s be real for a moment. It’s one thing to have a “half-time moment in the locker room” where you give an inspirational speech and then hope and possibly pray that they will go out and play to win whilst you get on with your own priorities from the sidelines.

It’s certainly another to be invested 150% and provide coaching, direction and support along the way.

If you want the results of a high performing team then let’s start by asking these questions:

1. Is the team really a team?

Do you meet on a regular basis and share common goals, the rewards and responsibilities of achieving them?

2. Is your team ready for “heavy lifting”?

The advantages of being a highly functioning team are exponential. However, this can only be achieved if the team is wiling to invest a considerable amount of time and emotional energy.

3. Is the leader committed to building a team?

Leadership matters and is crucial for leading the effort by setting an example and being dedicated. Success IS possible with the willingness and good intention to help everyone succeed.

4. Is this the right time?

As you know, timing is everything and in order to heal and grow as a team, a few things should be considered. Take into account the external environment and how these factors may impact on beginning this process.

  • The team is new or there is about to be a change in the nature of the team.
  • There is going to be or has been a recent organizational change.
  • The team has an unusually heavy workload with impending deadlines

Here are 5 key behaviors that should be in place as you develop your competitive advantage.

Teams should:

1. Trust One Another

When team members are genuinely transparent and honest with one another, they are able to build vulnerability-based trust.

2. Engage in Conflict Around Ideas

When there is trust, team members are able to engage in unfiltered, constructive debate of ideas.

3. Commit to Decisions

When team members are able to offer opinions and debate ideas, they will be more likely to commit to decisions.

4. Hold One Another Accountable

When everyone is committed to a clear plan of action, they will be more willing to hold one another accountable.

5. Focus on Achieving Collective Results

The ultimate goal of building great trust, conflict, commitment, and accountability is one thing: the achievement of results.

If you want to set up 2016 to be your teams BEST YEAR yet, I’m offering a FREE Team Questionnaire to determine what your biggest focus areas should be for 2016.

To receive your FREE questionnaire email me on:

Lead with Purpose!