Tips and Techniques
November 4, 2021

Is Your Team an All-Star Team? Or Just a Team of All-Stars?

Play as a team and you can beat a 'team' of all-stars. Here's a simple activity to build an all-star team.

Back in 2006, the USA took 12 basketball all-stars as a team, plus a super-successful coaching staff, to the FIBA World Championship. They finished third, losing to Greece, a team with not a single NBA player.

You can see where I’m going with this: anyone playing as a team can beat a ‘team’ of all-stars.

It’s a common pattern at work. A management team is made up of a group of people who have risen to the top by being the best in their individual games. Individually, they are awesome. But together, they might be awful.

Why? Of course, any new team needs go through the phases of Tuckman’s model (forming, storming, norming and performing), but any efforts to grow beyond storming will be hobbled if the leader doesn’t ensure that each person switches their mindset from wanting what they individually want, to wanting what’s best for the team. A leader has to ensure:

  • A culture of mutual trust and respect
  • A culture of psychological safety and vulnerability
  • A culture of accountability
  • Clear, other-centred language
  • A common goal, where everyone’s motivations and incentives align

As meeting leaders, we have fantastic opportunities – even today (like, today!), even in your very next meeting – to create spaces to bring out all of these aspects. Here’s one simple thing that has always helped me.

Get them to make something together.

  • A mock ‘box’ to advertise the combination of their individual products or processes
  • A mock ‘poster’ to advertise the collective advantage of their individual business lines, and how it’s better than just ‘adding up’ the individual business lines
  • A mock ‘postcard from the future’ about how they overcame their problems, united, and achieved something new

Anything that represents some collective impact.

Maybe, just maybe, the group will be amazed and encouraged by something new they made together that they couldn’t have done alone. And maybe, just maybe, you can help them on the path from storming to norming and performing.

And they’ll be that all-star team they all want to be.

Project Insurance Pack

You need to set up your team to succeed. These 3 meeting guides will help you do just that. Included in the pack:

Project Kick-off Meeting Guide

Get a shared understanding before the project begins.

Project Pre-Mortem Meeting Guide

Identify what might go wrong and how you will avoid it.

Problem Framing Meeting Guide

Clarify the 'why' behind what your project is really for.

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