Is Your Team Achieving the Right Kind of Results?

It’s no secret that we are enthusiastic advocates of Patrick Lencioni’s Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team™. It’s a proven approach that builds strong, high performance teams. The five behaviors are linked together — one trait builds upon another, starting with vulnerability-based trust and engaging in healthy conflict, and moving to team commitment, accountability, and collective results.

Because “results” are the culmination of the other four behaviors, and because the desire to achieve results appears on its face to be rather obvious, sometimes this fifth behavior is not given the attention it deserves. Let’s explore more deeply what we mean by results.

“Collective” is the key word

So simple to understand, yet so difficult to achieve, the essence of high performance results in a team setting revolves around the idea that results must be common, shared accomplishments, not individual victories.

“Our natural tendency is to gravitate toward personal goals,” said Maren Perry, president of Arden Coaching. “It’s perfectly normal to see things through the prism of what works best for us.” The desire to see results that favor us personally may be driven by, among other things, ego, our departmental budget, status, perceived career prospects, or the emotional need to “win” every battle.

The CEO of a New York City-based technology company recently formed a cross-functional team to explore the pros and cons of acquiring a small, marginally profitable but innovative niche 3D-printing company in Austin, Texas.

At an individual level, one team member recognized that the acquisition could be a threat to her own R&D department. One member saw an opportunity to build his reputation as a player at the company by working to assure that his point of view always won. Another member believed that she could be in line for an SVP position to manage and lead the acquired company. Yet another team member thought it would be cool to live in Austin.

Perry says, “In a poorly-led team environment, personal goals and ambitions are allowed to dominate. In a well-led team environment, team members focus on results that are best for the team and the achievement of the team’s goals and objectives.”

What Does a Collective Result Look Like?

“First,” said Perry, “it is critically important for the CEO to clearly define what a good result is for the team. What does that look like? The result must consist of explicit, understandable, measurable, goals.”

“For example, if the CEO makes it clear that the primary strategic objective in considering the acquisition is to aggressively pursue all opportunities in the medical device market that will both open new markets and be profitable within a three year timeframe, the team has a well-defined flag to rally around.”

In addition, Perry emphasizes the need to reward all teams based on their collective results. “If the CEO does not create a system that rewards sacrificing personal or departmental gain for the collective best solution, everyone will eventually look out for themselves anyway, even if there’s collective goal. Desired behaviors must be rewarded.” 

With the above goal in mind, AND a reward system that will recognize selfless collective teamwork, the team leader and the team now have a realistic chance to apply the five behaviors successfully. Team behavior, discussion, decisions, commitment, and recommendations — all the team’s “wins” — will be framed in the best interest of the team objective and the overriding strategic goals of the company.

Arden Coaching is an authorized partner of The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team™ program, a set of assessment and team-building tools that has become the most widely used process for effective team development globally.

To learn more about developing your team’s performance, executive coaching, and leadership training contact contact Arden Coaching at [email protected] or 646.684.3777.