March 18, 2012

The Case for Teamwork

“Teamwork remains the one sustainable competitive advantage that has been largely untapped” – Patrick Lencioni

I agree with Patrick.  If teamwork is a “sustainable competitive advantage” why do so many leaders not invest greater time and energy in building better teams?  

As I travel and work with teams I see three reasons why leaders do not invest more energy in equipping their teams.  

Obstacles to Great Teams:

(1) Teamwork takes time.

(2) Teamwork is hard to measure.

(3) Teamwork is challenging.

Let’s take a quick look at these obstacles. 

Teamwork takes time – As leaders we are busy keeping people focused on objectives, delivering our services, caring for customers and financial stability.  We can barely get done what were already doing – so how can we find the time for leadership development? The truth is you will never find time to build a better team – you will have to create time to focus on it.  Great teams are built over time with intentional effort.  The most effective leadership development is delivered during the regular course of our work.  For example if you added a biweekly one-on-one time with your key reports and coached them to greater success – you are building a better team.  

Teamwork is hard to measure – Why you ask.  Because it impacts the outcome of an organization in such diverse ways that it is hard to put your finger on the benefits.  Even though the impact of teamwork is hard to measure the results are there.  In my experience staff will stay longer and work more effectively in an organization in which they are developed as well as compensated.  This means your best talent will stay and therefore less turnover and more developed teams with greater results.

Teamwork is challenging – Great teams require courage, discipline and emotional energy.  As challenging as great teams are to build their power cannot be denied.  When people come together and partner to achieve something greater than their own personal satisfaction – they cannot be defeated. 

As I begin a new series on Teamwork I encourage you to engage in the blogs and apply the truths in your own context – the benefits will be great. 

To your excellence,

Coach Greg