Teaming – what’s the glue that holds it together?

6th Oct 2018
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We need to inculcate curiosity in our teams to try different things, do things that haven’t been done before and more importantly advocate innovation to be able to succeed.


Bond with the best… Reminiscent of the 90’s TV commercial by Reid & Taylor, isn’t it? But that’s not what I’m referring to here, although in a way I am talking about fabric – but the organisational kind.

We are entering a fast track era where the tagline “move on” is more reflective of the times we live in. In such a dynamic ecosystem, how can we forge bonds that last, especially when it comes to building teams to operate as a single unit? It’s a challenging ask for any leader, as they no longer have the bandwidth to create permanent clusters and need to leverage personnel across a variety of functions to meet goals these days.

Leadership is a tricky business – you need to have a certain knack for boosting human morale. And it’s not just your own. Sports is a great teacher here, more so those where teams are involved. Going solo too does well to build a competitive spirit, but when you introduce other members into the fold – there’s simply a wider expanse of skills that you hone.

If you’ve ever played for a team, you must have realised that each player comes with a unique skill set – so you learn how to manoeuvre the playing field by capitalising on individual strengths while collectively shielding drawbacks. Eventually, the league which does this most artfully and consistently succeeds. While business is a seemingly different ballgame, it’s akin to sports in more ways than one; especially when it comes to wielding effective leadership traits.

In the current work context though, leaders are being dealt a spin-ball, as creating teams that are stable is now a thing of the past. Along with blurring geographic boundaries, when working with globally spread-out teams, there’s a need to work alongside a range of different people to achieve dynamic targets. This isn’t an easy task, because humans tend to find comfort in familiarity – which ironically isn’t exactly the best way to uncover their potential and drive innovation. So how do you get the right talent for the job, to work efficiently and cooperate to achieve a unified goal?

It’s the passion and unified vision to succeed that is critical here. The phenomenal rescue of the 12 Thai boys – the ‘Wild Boars’ and their coach from a water-logged cave was an exemplary act of teaming, by experts who contributed from around the world. They achieved a feat that no one knew for sure they would succeed in – but each member brought in their ‘A-game’ to make it happen.

India’s very own Kirloskar Bros. known for their skills in water pumping got their engineers in as part of the stellar team that saw this through. I digress, but isn’t it a proud moment when our countrymen step in to help? Also, this level of teaming isn’t driven by plain vanilla targets but by a cause that’s much deeper that revenue objectives. And that is where, as a leader, you need to hit the right notes. Driving a more passionate team is more exhilarating than ever, as it’s the sheer will to excel that keeps the momentum going and every person engaged.

The biggest takeaway from this rescue operation is that the objectivity of the team superseded their differences. They clearly didn’t have all the answers – realistically, nobody on earth did. They still took the risk and had a will to succeed when they knew the odds were against them, relying heavily on the expertise of individual members. That is the epitome of how a good team should function. You need to be nimble enough to move with the flow, and incredibly steadfast with your goals, all the while relying on the varied expertise of different members and the ability to trust each other’s judgement. As the work we do today involves bringing in new skill sets and the need to integrate them with the

skills of our existing employees, there needs to be a certain degree of humility to accept that all of us don’t have all the answers.

Today, we need to inculcate curiosity in our teams to try different things, do things that haven’t been done before and more importantly advocate innovation to be able to succeed. Curiosity had the cat done in, but in business, you won’t get too far without it.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

 

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