Everyone wants the most skilled professionals on their team, and recruiting those top candidates can be challenging. Maybe it’s time to rethink our stance on recruiting the top qualified candidates? Could it be that there’s a better approach.
Let’s talk about one of my favorite topics in leadership, team dynamics. Hiyo.
What are Team Dynamics
Team dynamics are basically how people work together and how their work impacts the momentum of the company.
Or, for a more formal definition I’ll refer to BusinessDictionary:
Team Dynamics is the behavioral relationships between members of a group that are assigned connected tasks within a company. Dynamics are affected by roles and responsibilities and have a direct result on productivity.
Team dynamics aren’t inherently good or bad, and just having a concept of Team Dynamics is only a first step. The idea is to get good team dynamics.
What Good Team Dynamics Look Like
With good team dynamics we expect to see an environment where individual’s work is valuable and distinct.
That isn’t to say each member should stay in their own lane and avoid helping one another. It’s to say that if someone does something it’s done efficiently and without redundancies. So if I help you with something, someone else isn’t stepping in to help you complete the same task.
Simple concept, right? Well, getting to this point forces ownership by the team. I’ve worked on teams with various request forms and discoveries for projects. Documentation like this is completely inefficient and is solved by letting these specialists join strategic conversations earlier. More detail on that will come in its own article, that’s a little out of the scope of this one.
An important takeaway here is that by letting individuals take ownership for their work arguments can arise. Interestingly, this is a very good thing. These arguments stem from pride in tasks performed. As long as the arguments remain respectful, the end result will almost always be improved workflow and final product or service.
An Experiment of Competition Killing Solid Team Dynamics
Dr. William Muir performed a pretty famous experiment with chickens to see how he could get the most productivity out of a brood (a group of hens).
I’m not going to go into all the details of the experiment, you can read more about it here if you’re not familiar with it. But, the experiment went something like this.
A group of highly productive chickens were pulled apart from average chickens. The average chickens were separated from the most productive chickens. Then, the productive chickens were bred. The goal was that after about six generations of this we would have a group of super chicken and a group of average chicken.
Ultimately, when the experiment was done, the average chickens were healthy, well feathered, and producing great results. Meanwhile, the super chickens basically all killed each other. I’m not even kidding. Seriously, read this short summary of the experiment, if you haven’t already.
Last Note on the Super Chickens
An interesting thing about this experiment is the concept of social capital. The longer the average team works together, the better they work, and the more productive they become. The team begins to play off each other, bringing out the best in one another, and the result is compounding output or compounding productivity.
Competing with each other provides and incentive to pull others down. Obviously, this is detrimental to a team’s success and longevity.
Adjusting Our Goals to Go Far with Team Dynamics
If fine tuning our team dynamics can lead to big wins, then adjusting our goals can broadly impact our organizations.
Consider what success looks like to most CEOs. It might sound a little something like this:
I want to see a 50% increase in revenue year over year for the next three years, taking us to $20B by the fourth year.
Goals like this completely miss significant firepower in plain sight!
I was in a meeting recently where a CEO said this and the reaction was dead silence from a room of people.
Then, one young employee basically forced himself to get inspired and started talking about how we might strive to achieve this goal by upselling current clients. He asked how we might go about up-selling across the firm and the CEO told him not to worry about it. Then, I nearly laughed out loud.
Here, this CEO successfully drained any inspiration in a team. Then, shot down the one person who tried to jump start inspiration on his own.
What Could Have Been Done Better?
Imagine if that goal was to build social capital with each other? Or to generate an atmosphere where people can argue respectfully, disagree, have opinions and insight without worrying about getting fired or getting someone else fired?
This is at the heart of good team dynamics that result in longevity and growth. If we argue respectfully about the work we’re doing, then the result should be growth and improvement.
As our work improves, and the workflow to create it tightens us, we will be able to produce better work more efficiently. That’s where revenue comes from, not announcing revenue targets to staff members.
Final Thought on Team Dynamics and Social Capital Illustrated By Rock Bands
What do all of these bands have in common?
- The Rolling Stones
- The Moody Blues
- ZZ Top
- Golden Earring
- The Eagles
They’re all over 40 years old and still playing. Even though they aren’t savant-like individuals at their instruments, they’re still together and packing large venues. How do they do it? Why do people pay hundreds of dollars per ticket to go see some of these bands?
Because their social capital has given them outstanding longevity. Their collective work is outstanding and they sincerely love what they do. These band members bring out the best in each other and, as a result, bring out the best in themselves.
It’s time to begin setting goals around establishing strong team dynamics and compounding social capital. High quality work will be a result, and increased revenue will be a result of that.