Great teams, in business or sports, consist of a solid core of key and support players. The injection of new team DNA into the mix can be disruptive and cathartic. Anyone and anything “new” serves to catalyze and move people one millimeter forward beyond their current level of comfort.
Mother Nature utilizes hybridized diversity of gene pools to create natural populations (really big teams!). Successful natural populations within successful species have DNA which allows them to be more nimble, robust and responsive to adaptive pressures. Otherwise too much inbreeding and homogeneity creates a niche population which easily is compromised by changes in the status quo.
If the goal of your team is to grow, expand and sustain your business, target hybridizing whom you hire and how you work together to create sustainable business outcomes.
Upgrading team DNA disrupts team complacency.
Team DNA (and corporate DNA for that matter) is particularly vulnerable to pressures exerted from the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or the industrial Internet of Things (IoT). In order to remain competitive and sustainable with the IoT manufacturing ecosystem, team complacency is not an option.
Team complacency results when there is lack of adaptability within your organization. This scenario affects the ability of a team to successfully execute a strategy of creating better and better business outcomes for customers. Team complacency can result from corporate culture and hiring practices. In addition, when your team works within an organization which is not able to adapt to competitive challenges, cash flow and customer retention is affected.
The relentless pace of technical advances in the industrial Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem waits for no one to play catch up. That is why enlightened corporate cultures focus on upgrading team DNA with new people, new tools, new software, new equipment, new education and new mindset essential for keeping pace in today’s globally competitive manufacturing and business ecosystem.
In my Coaching Playbook, depending on where we sit around the table, everyone “sees” the same thing differently. Revel in those differences.
Think about your own team and how and where you “fit into the picture”. Are team members “the same” or does each person bring a particular strength to creating solutions on behalf of your clients? Like those natural and successful populations, is your team nimble, flexible, adaptive and robust?
TO DO: Time for a quick team pulse check here. Think about your work team, or work teams if you are a member of several. What are the dynamics of each team? What are the root causes of observed behavior?
- Does your team revel in exploring diverse solutions offered by team members? Alternatively, do you find differences in perspective uncomfortable and adversarial? What type of team environment do you prefer to work in?
- Does management hire and encourage employees to offer feedback and provide input on various projects? Or does management stifle differences in perspective as you sit around that business table? Which type of management environment do you prefer to work in?
- Does corporate culture promote cross-functional employee engagement where people are encouraged to shadow each other and cross-pollinate their skill sets? On the other hand, is company culture lackluster and disinterested in developing employees through continuing education and workshops? What type of corporate culture do you prefer to work in?
When employees understand the optimal type of team and corporate DNA which brings out their professional best, they are more discerning when hunting for new jobs or moving elsewhere within their current company.
How adaptable is your team DNA?
Creating remarkable teams starts with moving everyone that first millimeter outside their individual and collective comfort levels. The focus is on individual and team DNA adaptability.
One Team Scenario: One of the least adaptable teams I coached was part of a company which did not perceive employees as key assets for growth, expansion and sustainability. There was a palpable lack of workplace unity and engagement, almost as if staff members were “afraid” to participate. Employees became uncomfortable when tasked with collaborating, let alone communicating productively, with each other. They – literally in some cases – looked to management for approval of their actions (or even permission to speak!). It is difficult to create remarkable team outcomes within this type of workplace environment. Do I even need to tell you that this company suffered from a consistently unpredictable revenue stream and an inability to retain customers?
An Alternate Team Scenario: The most adaptable team I coached always remained open to new ideas. They pushed back on each other’s opinions, not as criticism but to validate opinions and rationale. This team was not composed of PhDs, either. Rather, team members understood the value of coaching, since their desired outcome was upgrading everyone’s collective team DNA. They anticipated that upgrading team DNA would result in better and better business outcomes for their clients. Each team member became more employable, as well. It was a delight to create that remarkable team outcome within such a positive workplace environment. This company remains in growth and expansion mode, with a stable revenue stream and a high profile customer base.
After reading this post, is it time for a team DNA upgrade within your own workplace?
Babette Ten Haken is a writes, speaks and coaches about customer success for customer retention. She traverses the interface between human capital strategy for hiring and developing collaborative technical and non-technical teams. She serves manufacturing, IT and engineering intensive companies. Babette’s playbook of technical / non-technical collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.