Organizations in many sectors of society focus on strengthening teamwork.

Consider a sports team, a ballet troupe or an orchestra. They tend to invest a great deal of time and energy figuring out what they can do more of to be better. Yet, in business this rarely happens.

Think about the amount of time your management team has spent in the last 12 months discussing their performance as a team? I would be surprised (very pleasantly) if you said more than 1-2 hours.

That said, we’re seeing a shift more and more with our clients who are feeling the need for improving team performance. In our experience, building a management team has little to do with conventional ‘touchy-feely’ activities. Instead, we’ve found that what works is when a team follows these steps:

1. Decide on the level of team work needed to pursue their strategic objectives

2. Assess where they currently are (incidentally, we always see a gap even in high performing teams which suggests that there is always room for improvement)

3. Discuss and decide on the team commitments needed to close the biggest gaps

4. Decide on the individual commitments needed to help improve team performance

5. Coach the leader of the team on how to keep the team and individual commitments in the forefront

6. Measure the extent team members live up to both the team and individual commitments

7. Discuss how the improvement can be sustained in the long term

Our measurement surveys show that when a team follows these basic steps well, the improvement gained can be dramatic.

Why do this? Team work is the ‘secret sauce’ that aligns a management team to be more cohesive, overcome silos and a lack of trust, make better business decisions and achieve greater organizational clarity. These are essential ingredients in strategic execution.

Nic Tsangarakis, Principal