What makes a Badass Team?
It’s not a question most business leaders ask when putting teams together—but should they?
Imagine two different organizations.
The first, led by a team whose members share a common purpose and values. They know who their ideal customers are and how to effectively communicate to them. At any given time, they can articulate their top company priority and they understand how every single member of their team contributes to achieving that goal.
The second is run by well-intentioned managers, that are good in their respective domains, such as marketing and finance. They don't spend too much time on how people behave and interact and though they are growth oriented, they can't really articulate what direction the company's going in a simple consistent way. They are constantly managing against a long list of goals, some of them might even be contrary. Team members are mostly concerned with their departmental goals and activities and have little visibility and interest in the specific responsibilities of their peers.
What advantage would the first company have over the second?
How much time and energy would it be worth investing to make this advantage a reality?
If teams lack direction—they’re more focused on activities than on results, and their activities are out of sync with the overarching company goals. This means they are running in one direction, while the rest of the organization is running the opposite way. Furthermore, they often are reactive, not proactive—they hesitate to take a leadership stance in the market, allowing competitors and opportunities to pass them by.
Badass Teams, on the other hand, work together to move in the same direction as the rest of the company. This means when changes occur—such as when new people come in or new demands arise—they have the agility, focus, and discipline to manage change and deliver results. Badass Teams are curious and continuously learning so they can identify, celebrate, and leverage individuals’ superpowers to the greater good of the company.
Don’t assume all executives agree on the business strategy.
Disagreement is more common than you think! In our experience, senior leaders agree on no more than 70% of their company’s objectives. And when leaders are out of sync at the top, the problem only gets bigger as it rolls down the hill. Disengagement. Competing goals. Poor collaboration
As a first step to create a Badass Team, start at the top. You've all heard the saying "the fish stinks from the head".
Whenever we start working with a new client, in the first conversation they most often believe that the leadership is aligned around the company's strategy, goals and priorities. However, once we have everyone in a room and we start facilitating an open and honest discussion, we almost always discover disagreements and varying opinions on how the company will succeed and what is most important. If this is present at the leadership team, the rift just becomes bigger and bigger as we look deeper into the organization.
Employees are seeing and hearing different messages, worst case, they are getting different instructions from different directions (matrix organization anyone?). Ultimately this leads to frustration and disengagement.
Smart companies understand that an engaged workforce is a productive workforce. Gallup states that companies with highly engaged employees report 22% higher productivity.
To avoid this, and to give employees the clarity they need to stay engaged, the leadership team needs to become completely aligned and clear on the answers to these 6 simple but critical questions:
Why do we exist as an organization?
How do we behave?
What do we do?
How will we succeed?
What is most important right now?
Who must do what?
Answering these questions can sometimes be difficult and it requires a cohesive leadership team that is able to engage in constructive conflict. And while it does take some time, certainly a couple of intense days, followed by a little more time to work out the kinks, it doesn't take months to create this.
More than getting the right answer, it is often more important to have an answer - one that is directionally correct and around which all team members can commit. P.Lencioni
Results are often immediate:
Higher discretionary effort
Find out if senior leaders agree on your company's direction – and how confident they feel in the company’s ability to execute: