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Leaders: Focus Your Team on Collective Results

(posted: March 29th, 2017)

As a leader, one of the best things you can do for your organization, firm, or company, is to create highly-functioning, effective teams and a collaborative culture.

Effective teamwork contributes to higher levels of employee engagement, improves morale and helps to reduce turnover. That, as leaders know, benefits the bottom line.

To develop your most effective, collaborative team requires developing foundational elements. Patrick Lencioni visualizes this as a pyramid, with each of the Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team building on the ones beneath.

We have talked about the importance of team members holding each other accountable, the need for team members to truly commit, encouraging healthy conflict and debate within teams, and the importance of starting with trust.

Focusing on collective results is the fifth and final behavior in Patrick Lencioni's 5 Behaviors of a Cohesive Team model for building and managing successful, effective teams.

Great teams make sure that all members, regardless of their individual responsibilities or areas of expertise, are doing whatever they can to help the team accomplish its goals, and the team must believe that the results are achievable.

"If the members of the team do not truly believe in the team's ability to achieve an overarching goal, they will go rogue to save their individual career." ~ Patrick Lencioni

When Collective Results Are Ignored

You would think that achieving results would be an obvious mandate for most teams, wouldn't you? And yet, lack of attention to outcome-based results is one of the biggest challenges for most teams. Why? Because sometimes individual status and goals deter collective results. When your team ingores collective results it:

  • Stagnates and fails to grow
  • Rarely defeats competitors
  • Loses achievement-oriented employees
  • Permits team members to focus only on their own careers and individual goals
  • Is easily distracted

Why Collective Results Matter

On the other hand, a team that has learned to trust in each other, and focuses on collective results:

  • Retains high-achievers
  • Minimizes individualistic behavior
  • Enjoys success and learns from failures
  • Benefits from individuals who subjugate their own goals/interests for the good of the team
  • Avoids distractions

"The true measure of a team is that it accomplishes the results that it sets out to achieve...It requires levels of courage and discipline - and emotional energy - that even the most driven executives don't always possess." ~ Patrick Lencioni

How to Keep Your Team Focused on Results

Why Does the Team Exist?
Do we have a clear and compelling vision of what we need to accomplish? When everyone knows why the team exists and what is expected of the team as a whole, it will be easier to focus on the desired end result.

Set Aside Personal Needs for Team Needs.
Team members need to be able to make sacrifices for the good of the team. This sounds dramatic, but in practice it means that everyone is willing to stop and help another teammate, rather than being so focused on their own responsibilities that they can't or won't make themselves available.

Own It.
Take personal ownership for team performance. Rather than blaming others or outside factors for slip ups, missed deadlines or failures, each member steps up to acknowledge what went wrong and how they will contribute to improving the team's performance.

Praise Other Team members.
Point out the contributions and achievements of others. If this isn't happening it may be that members have differing ideas of what is worthy of praise, or some may feel that it's unnecessary. But celebrating the wins, even in a low-key way, is a great way to remind you all that you are working towards a collective goal.

There are more ways to get your team focused on team results, but this is a great starting point. Remember, you and your team must also master trust, healthy conflict, commitment and accountability in order to make a focus on collective results stick.

The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team is the result of the partnership between best-selling author Patrick Lencioni (The Five Dysfunctions of a Team) and Wiley (DiSC Personality Profile). Kristi Royse and KLR Consulting are authorized partners of this innovative team development program. The 5 Behaviors program includes five core modules, individual profiles, participant handouts, team report and interactive facilitated team activities. It is effective, simple, personalized, proven and unifying.

Challenge Yourself
  • What are some other ways you keep your teams focused on collective results?
  • What have been your experiences with working in teams, good or bad?
  • How do you encourage team members to act in the best interests of the team, rather than self-interest?

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