• Tara Howard

Unlocking The Dream Team.

Updated: Sep 7, 2019

Each team has unique perspectives and creative ways of seeing projects through from start to finish. In working with teams and understanding their distinctive traits, an ongoing curiosity has emerged into what specific qualities make up a high performing team. By ‘high performing’, we refer to those groups of people who are ambitious in nature, and successful in their execution of tasks to achieve results beyond what they originally set out to do. ‘High performing’ as a classification is rather unexciting, and so for the rest of this passage we shall refer to them as ‘dream teams’.

We work closely with an A star team who are functioning at dream team status. We've noticed some of their key tricks and share some of our observations in this post:

At the premise, dream teams set themselves novel and ambitious goals. In the first team session, the team set themselves seemingly unrealistic goals and were mutually invested and committed to achieving those tough goals, despite how difficult or aspiring they seemed at first. Each member of the dream team is radically committed to their goals.

Even though the team's goals seem unobtainable, they have an orientation to focus on practicality, rather than procrastinating with questions or complaints. Dream team players are very conscious and confident with each other’s strengths. This allows them to sensibly dilute challenges by breaking them up into workable fragments for each player to take responsibility for. The team systematically assigns tasks based on strength; “Tinashe, you’re strong on the stats side, so you can work that out for us”; and, “Caroline, you see things from the customer’s perspective, which segment should we market this product at?”.

Saintly as their dialogue may seem, any observer sitting in their team session would shortly notice that no one on this team thinks the same. Their variety in thought process is exceptionally diverse. It is as though they have an unspoken rule that you add no value if you think conventionally. Dream team players have a variety of perspectives and freely share them. In their team sessions, their disparity in thought can lead to some fueled debates about which route is best to take. Stormy patches of conflict can shade out their conversation. This does not matter, because their team functioning is so superior that they are able to transform conflict into opportunity, and easily settle on a clear game plan. Because they respect each other’s perspective they are always able to dilute tension with practical and consulted verdicts. Dream team players respect each other unequivocally.

Sheryl Sandberg from Facebook says, “the most critical ingredient for collaboration, especially between people who are very different, is mutual respect”. This resonates for the team who hold each other in the highest regard and esteem each other. In their team debates they resolve things fast and amicably because no one takes anything personally. This team's professional security and collaborative competence allows them space to share their perspectives. When next in a team meeting, practice the art of allowing each person to speak without interruption, write each perspective up on the flip chart, and then make a decision informed from diversity of contribution. You gain commitment from the team for the way forward because they will feel consulted and respected in the decision.

The leader of the said dream team believes that they work well together because the team is made up of members from different trades and backgrounds. So, when recruiting next, think of adding someone unconventional to the team. Then, onboard them with a team-wide strength finding exercise to help each member identify with the strengths they each contribute. This exercise will also build mutual respect.

Here at Leap, we continue to study the psychology of team performance so that we can help groups of people come together to solve our world’s problems. We help teams form, storm and perform. We believe so much in the collective generation of vibrant ideas, and we want to bring a lot of different people together to solve tomorrow together.

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