Article by Fiona Logan, Chief Executive of Insights
Is it being watered too little or too often? Is it in bright sunlight when it prefers shade? Is it potted in the correct soil? You may also need to till that soil, gently breaking it up, to release the nutrients inside, enabling the plant to thrive.
The same is true for teams. In my experience there are four essential elements that need to be in place and working effectively for a team to be able to thrive. Whether you are a leader in a growing business or a well-established one, by exploring your team through this model, you can identify perceived issues in any of the facets that could cause dysfunction or inefficient working methods.
I can’t get enough of this model in my own teams, whether we are hitting the highs or the lows, invariably I find the answers we need working in this way. We examine how we are nurturing our climate, maintaining our focus, building great team processes and encouraging our flow.
Teams where individuals are healthily self-aware of their personality preferences, understand others and adapt and connect to each other, produce the best climate and enjoy higher levels of trust and engagement.
Tapping into the diversity of the team, creating a climate of constructive challenge and mutual respect ensures problems and opportunities are approached from a wide variety of perspectives. Creating a team climate where members are encouraged to come at things differently and feel able to openly express themselves, in whatever way suits their preferences, tend to generate new ideas which benefit the team and the business.
Teams are also most effective when people have a positive perception of the team unit, feel that they add individual value and feel that their contribution is appreciated. Regularly recognising great teamwork and celebrating success creates a powerful effect which can be contagious across the organisation.
When teams are focused, with a clear vision and goals, they are more able to identify practical steps to move from current to future state and are motivated to take the necessary steps to get there.
At Insights we’ve found that different people respond to goals in different ways. When we tailor the outcomes to the team, ensure we have purposeful and visionary, yet specific goals, this can lead to higher performance, when we maintain the focus. A focus on our clearly stated ambition helps to create clarity and understanding, avoiding a lack of ownership.
Additionally, we’ve found a mix of team-centric goals – maximising each person’s contribution to the team – as well as individual goals improves overall effectiveness and performance.
Teams with strong processes thrive because there are clear methods of working. Processes which cover the human or people related aspects of team development, strategic processes which can keep our eyes firmly on the horizon, individual and team measurement and performance processes are all vital components to ensure the team is aligned and understands it unique and specific function in the organisation.
At Insights we also have a value of ‘enjoying the journey’ together. Whilst it may sound silly to have processes around having fun, teams who play together stay together, so ensuring regular routines to ensure human connections are made is essential.
How a team works together – or flows – is an important ingredient in its overall success. Taking the time to listen to colleague’s personal experiences, empathising and responding authentically with each other helps ensure flow. A team being ‘in flow’ is hard to pin down, but it is very apparent when it’s not happening. Each member of a team, and particularly the leader of the team, has the responsibility to nourish and till the soil of the team so it can establish flow,
Climate, focus, process and flow are four simple elements when applied to a team are ingredients akin to tilling the soil, hydrating and nourishing a plant, which can help ensure your team grows and thrives. Taking this lesson from nature, what are you doing in your teams to ensure you are maximising your team’s success?
Fiona Logan is Chief Executive of Insights. Fiona came to Insights in 2015 as VP Europe, and soon took on the role of Chief Operating Officer. She joined from her post as CEO of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park following an international corporate career with IBM and Unilever. Fiona has attended Henley, Harvard and Macquarie Business Schools and is a previous winner of the UK Public Servant of the Year from the Women in Public Life awards. Fiona enjoys life as a mum to two teenagers and is a passionate wild swimmer, walker and environmentalist.