San Diego — March 15
Most of the work in organizations is done by teams, yet most teams do not reach their potential relative to performance and bottom-line results.
Organizations need processes that can jump-start new teams, breathe life into existing teams and develop leaders who can dramatically influence team success.
Research over the past 60 years consistently has demonstrated that regardless of their purpose, teams go through predictable stages on their path to high performance.
Findings support that a team’s performance hinges largely on how well they work through these classic stages of team development.
Two variables determine the team development stage: productivity and morale.
Productivity is the amount and quality of the work accomplished. It depends on members’ ability to collaborate, their knowledge and skills, clear goals and access to needed resources.
Morale is the team’s confidence, motivation and unity in achieving the purpose. Studies have proven that intervening with the appropriate leadership style at each stage will help the team progress to or maintain high performance.
Building a high-performing team requires a leader who can manage the team’s journey from dependence to interdependence.
“Today’s leader must be an enabler of people and a facilitator of teams — not only as an effective team leader but as an effective team member, as well,” said Don Carew, who, along with Ken Blanchard and Eunice Parisi-Carew, wrote “The One Minute Manager Builds High Performing Teams.”
The authors agree that when a great team leader’s job is done, team members will say, “We did it ourselves.”
Their answer to helping teams through the inevitable series of development stages as they grow from a collection of individuals to a high-performing unit is to teach team leaders how to diagnose their teams’ development stages and determine the appropriate leadership style required to help teams progress through these stages.
This applies whether the teams work face-to-face or virtually.
A decade or so ago, virtual teams were almost nonexistent. Today, technology, globalization and the need for fast responses to marketplace demands dramatically have changed the way business is conducted.
Many people — from senior executives to frontline employees — can be physically separated and required to work together effectively without having ever met one another face to face.
The reality is that most teams do some or all of their work in a virtual setting, where teammates housed in another building might be as virtual as those around the globe.
The new test facing businesses is how to get virtual team members to work well together across geographic, cultural and organizational boundaries to deliver results.