“Eleven” Habits of Highly Effective Teams

In my book, The Collaborator: Discover Soccer as a Metaphor for Global Business Leadership, I describe the game of soccer as the “best” example of a sport with teams charged to perform their work under changing conditions.  Why soccer?  Played at its highest level, the best soccer teams in the world succeed by applying a “mindset” that recognizes a mutual dependency (i.e., interdependency) between players on the field described as “genuine” collaborative teamwork.

We know that most people don’t function with a mindset that supports genuine collaborative teamwork.  The typical mindset supports “group work” that is more about cooperating and coordinating with others.  This disconnect explains, in-part, why team development has been an ongoing challenge in organizations.

In The Collaborator… 11 operating principles are introduced – and serve as “governing” principles – to describe how people can cultivate an “alternative” mindset for practicing genuine collaborative teamwork in the workplace.  These principles “mirror” actions that happen on the soccer field.  Once understood, they must essentially become “habits” for the team to develop!  Listed below are the 11 operating principles (i.e., habits of highly effective teams).  These are listed in no order…and are in-play all of the time:

  • Focus On Team – Not Positon: Addresses the need to focus on results produced when “all” positions effectively interact on the business field;
  • Understand That Everyone Can Play: Recognizes that “technology” is the great “enabler” allowing people everywhere – to play…to collaborate….in business;
  • Embrace Diversity: Represents the “prerequisite” for partnering in global business…and serves as a springboard for establishing trust…  Diversity brings strength to teams;
  • Rely On Each Other: Reinforces the team orientation…minimizes the “silo” mindset…recognizing a “mutual” dependency between people…promoting genuine collaboration;
  • Promote Both Individual & Team Values: Deals with managing “both” values in a never-ending cycle to help ensure that the process for producing team results is working;
  • Seek Skillful, Adaptable Players: Promotes the need for “flexibility” for managing change…requires people and teams who can quickly “assimilate” and use new skills, information and the like…and recognizes that multiple skills are need to play the game of business;
  • Charge The Team To Perform The Work: Recognizes the “self-directed” nature of the team charged with performing the work…and recognizes that the team’s performance during the game (business) is “left up to the team;”
  • Empower Players To Win: Speaks to the “commitment” to developing all employees…to providing continuous feedback….all for the purpose of positioning people to make better decisions;
  • Coach Teams To Respond To Changing Conditions On Their Own: Reinforces the application of a “real” team…self-directed, operating on a real-time basis…responding to changing conditions;
  • Develop Partners On The Field: Recognizes that “all” players on the business field are leaders…and requires viewing every opportunity as a leadership development step;
  • Achieve Cross-Cultural Agility: Calls for leveraging “relationships” in business to achieve results…transcending “technique” in dealing with people across cultures.

An “alternative” mindset can be learned for supporting genuine collaborative teamwork using the 11 operating principles from my book.  In 2016, The Collaboration Game™ was launched to help people accomplish this task.  Using a board game simulation, people are placed on small teams whose purpose is to function with a mindset that supports the application of competencies focused on collaboration skills.  Teams are challenged to discover solutions to a series of business scenarios that examine their mindset (and skill-set) for offering win-win solutions. To learn more about The Collaboration Game™ go to www.winsorjenkins.com

Indeed, today’s global workplace – where technology is empowering organizations to be more responsive to markets and empowering employees on the front line to make decisions, to take risks and manage constant change – has become more and more like soccer.

Advertisements

It’s All In The Game for Coaching Teams in Business

Soccer’s metaphor – or model – can be leveraged for coaching teams in today’s global business world.  Two key developmental steps for implementing the model are: (1) learn a new mindset for practicing collaboration – followed by (2) applying competencies focused on collaboration skills.  When combined, they serve as an operating platform for people on teams enabling the application of genuine collaborative teamwork in the workplace.

COACHING TO DEVELOP COLLABORATION’S MINDSET

Since most people on teams typically show up with a mindset (i.e., underlying assumptions or beliefs) that support “group work” (i.e., cooperating and coordinating with others) – versus genuine collaboration – changing underlying assumptions is the initial challenge for the team coach.  It starts with the team understanding that “high performance” is needed for the “task at hand” and it can only be achieved when the team functions in a way that recognizes the interdependent nature of the team’s relationship! Anything short of that recognition would not result in high performance.

The next assignment for the team coach is to introduce the “operating principles” in my book (The Collaborator:  Discover Soccer as a Metaphor for Global Business Leadership) to people on teams.  These 11 operating principles mirror actions that happen on the soccer field.  Together, they are introduced as “governing principles” that must be learned – and represent the core piece of an operating platform used by coaches for developing a mindset to support genuine collaborative teamwork.  “Rely On Each Other” is one example of an operating principle introduced in the book.  Like world-class soccer teams, success on the field is made up of learning and applying the principles to support genuine team collaboration.

COACHING TO DEVELOP COLLABORATION’S SKILLSET

In my book, a series of “competencies focused on collaboration” are introduced as the second piece of the operating platform for developing collaboration skills.  All of the competencies are aligned with the platform’s operating principles.  For the aforementioned principle, the competencies are: Relationship Building, Team Player and Team Management.

Most coaches are very familiar with competency models so the idea of “teaching people a new range of competencies that focus on collaboration” should not be a challenging task.  With that said, the process for developing collaboration’s competencies is highly personalized once people have been introduced to all of the competencies in the inventory.  Action plans are created once strengths have been assessed across this inventory.  Typically this can be done using a 360 assessment.  From there, it’s a case of targeting selected competencies for growth…followed up with periodic coaching to help reinforce learning and application.

COACHING TO DEVELOP A CULTURE OF COLLABORATION

The need to develop both the mindset that aligns with genuine collaboration, along with the infrastructure (i.e., operating platform) to support a collaborative culture – even before developing actual collaboration skills – was pointed out in IBM’s 2013 C-Suite Study by many CEO’s.  Indeed, soccer’s model serves as one key piece of a larger operating framework for coaches (and organizations) to use for developing teams pursuing genuine collaboration.  After that, the process of developing additional infrastructure may fall on collaborating with other consultants who specialize, for example, in organization development.

LEVERAGING SOCCER’S MODEL FOR COACHES

Soccer’s model can be leveraged for coaching teams in today’s global business world.  It starts with training followed by a commitment to ongoing development, including coaching.  This spring we will be launching The Collaboration Game™ to help coaches develop people on teams.  To learn more about the program go to http://www.winsorjenkins.com

 

 

It’s All In The Game for Women in Business

Soccer is described as the world’s most popular sport.  Its attractiveness comes from the fact that both diversity and inclusion are embedded in the game of soccer!

DIVERSITY 2.0

Diversity shows up in the game – by gender, race, ethnicity and age, for example.  Also, there are no prerequisites for playing soccer – unlike many sports.  Perhaps the best example of diversity comes from looking at the growth of women’s soccer at the youth, college and professional levels not only in North America but around the globe!  Soccer’s governing body (FIFA) reported in 2014, for example, that 12% of all youth players are now female…29 million females playing worldwide – up from 22 million in 2000.  In the US alone, soccer is now ranked as the third most popular sport played by females.

Indeed, soccer’s model serves as a platform for developing women leaders, recognizing an athlete’s opportunity to learn and experience the interdependent nature of a real team practicing genuine collaboration.  This all relates directly and vitally to the continued growth of women in business and rising leadership ranks.  In a survey of 400 women executives conducted by the EY Women Athletes Business Network and espn-W, “the majority of the women surveyed believe that playing sports can accelerate a women’s career and increase her leadership potential,” writes Stephanie Castellano in her article, C-Suite Athletes (TD Magazine, January 2015).

Diversity will continue to be a necessary prerequisite to successfully compete and partner with others around the world.  The benefits of diversity are “real…and if we can leverage them, we’ll be far better off…we’ll find better solutions to our problems,” writes Scott Page in his book, The Difference:  How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools and Societies (Princeton University Press, 2007).

INCLUSION 101

Inclusion in soccer shows up on the playing field!  Successful teams naturally function in a highly inclusive fashion, operating as self-directed units charged with performing the work.  Without inclusiveness, there is not an opportunity to tap into the talent on the team for operating in a dynamic fashion under constantly changing conditions, causing existing plays (i.e., ideas) to be combined in new ways for the purpose of scoring goals (i.e, innovating)!

A successful soccer coach provides the best description of a 21 century leader.  Seen as an inclusive leader who effectively delegates – they fundamentally believe in people (teams) to accept responsibility to get the work done.  They also have the ability to be totally responsive to meeting the team’s needs.  To paraphrase leadership guru, Ken Blanchard, “the most effective coach or leader is one who can provide for the individual (or team) what they cannot provide for themselves.”  Anything short of that description could be viewed as either under-supervision or over-supervision – or even micromanagement!

LEVERAGING SOCCER’S MODEL IN THE AGE OF COLLABORATION

Soccer’s model can be leveraged in today’s global business workplace for improving team effectiveness!  Again, this all relates to how business can leverage soccer’s model to help bridge changing demographics in the United States (and globally) – both in the workplace and marketplace – for building a competitive advantage.

This spring we are launching our new training program, The Collaboration Game™ for developing people who work on teams.  The program is offered as a one day, team-based training simulation modeled on the game of soccer.  You can learn more about the program at: http://www.winsorjenkins.com

It’s All In The Game for Millennials in Business

Forbes.com recently reported that soccer in North America is now viewed as the “sport of choice” for millennials.  This conclusion was made in an article called, How Major League Soccer is Closing The Gap With The Big Four (Darren Heitner, 12/22/15).  The article mentions that 65% of Major League Soccer’s audience is 18-34 (with approximately 17.3 million viewers out of a gross viewership of 30 million…representing an all-time high for the league.)  It goes on to say that, “compared to other sports, it’s either the highest or second highest and clearly the growth segment that most marketers are looking for.”

Why do millennials find soccer to be their sport of choice?  We know that millennials view teamwork as a key work value.  We also know they’re accustomed to collaborating online and like to learn through collaboration.  As I’ve said in earlier posts, soccer represents the best example of what the interdependent nature of the team experience looks like.  The best soccer teams in the world succeed by recognizing a mutual dependency between players, allowing them to practice genuine collaborative teamwork.

Not surprisingly, millennials are very interested  in innovation…both in terms of how their current employers innovate – and when evaluating job offers (see Workforce magazine article:  Millennial in Training, January 2015).

Soccer’s model provides the best description of a network for learning how to practice genuine collaborative teamwork leading to innovation!  In soccer, moving the ball on the field equates to operating in a dynamic fashion under constantly changing conditions, causing existing plays (i.e., ideas) to be combined in new ways for the purpose of scoring goal (i.e., innovating).  This position is based, in-part, on the Center for Creative Leadership’s Future Trends in Leadership report (2014) where, for example, researchers have shown that, “innovation is a result of large numbers of connection points in a network that cause existing ideas to be combined in new ways.”

What’s more, soccer players on the field are viewed as leaders…again, functioning in a self-directed way, managing constant change.  This sort of scenario is aligned with the argument made by management guru, Gary Hamel, in a 2013 interview with McKinsey & Company, in which he explains the “need to syndicate the work of leadership across organizations, calling for a new platform for managing change…with traditional structures demanding too much from too few (i.e., leaders).

Perhaps millennials recognize the aforementioned connections and view soccer not only for its entertainment and recreational value, but see the sport as a means to an end in today’s global workplace.

LEVERAGING SOCCER’S MODEL in the AGE of COLLABORATION

Soccer’s model can be leveraged in today’s global workplace for improving team effectiveness!  Because millennials typically bring a global perspective, coupled with a more inclusive nature (e.g., accepting diversity) and comfort around flatter operational structures, for example, they are primed to learn, develop and practice genuine collaborative teamwork on the job using soccer’s model.  This also includes understanding what it takes to lead teams.

This spring we are launching our new training program, The Collaboration Game™ for developing people who work on teams.  This program is offered as a one day, team-based training simulation modeled on the game of soccer.  You can learn more about the program at: http://www.winsorjenkins.com.

Silo Busting in the Age of Collaboration

Everyone knows that eliminating silos is key to both team and organization success.  Or do they?  Why do silos continue to survive – and even thrive like a virus in some situations?  In the age of collaboration, operating with silos is obviously not good.  Yet, they continue to exist – and in some cases – dominate an organization’s culture.

SILO MINDSET vs. COLLABORATION MINDSET

Teams (and organizations) who struggle with silos – and the silo mindset – are going to be limited in how much real collaboration they experience.  I view the silo mindset as a fixed mindset and the collaboration mindset as a growth mindset based on the work of Stanford University Professor, Carol Dweck, in her book, Mindset:  The New Psychology of Success.  Here, she makes the distinction between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset…showing how one’s mindset affects the way people live their lives.  For example, people with a growth mindset possess the kind of perseverance and resilience needed to achieve creative solutions. I believe this syncs-up well to people operating with a collaboration mindset!

TACKLE SILO BUSTING

As mentioned in earlier posts, “developing a mindset to support genuine collaboration is something that can only be learned and can’t be inserted as if it were a piece of software,” writes Danah Zohar, in her Abstract, An Alternative Sports Metaphor for Understanding Teamwork as Complex:  Soccer.  Why?  Most people don’t function with a mindset that supports genuine collaborative teamwork.  The typical mindset supports “group work” that is more about cooperating or coordinating with others.  By developing an alternative mindset, people and organizations will be positioned to tackle silo busting leading to improved team (and organizational) effectiveness.

This spring we will be launching a new training program called, The Collaboration Game™ to help people on teams develop an alternative mindset to support genuine collaborative teamwork.  The program is a one day, team-based experiential training simulation that tackles silo busting by focusing on the developing mindset before skillset. In the program, participants are introduced to 11 operating principles that serve as the core part of an operating platform used to support genuine collaborative teamwork. These principles serves as “governing” principles akin to having a growth (or collaboration) mindset.  Although all of these principles are in-play all of the time, one principle – Rely on Each Other – specifically identifies the need to recognize the interdependency between people on teams…and the need to minimize the silo mindset!

DEVELOPING SKILLSET

By developing a mindset for supporting genuine collaborative teamwork, people are better prepared to develop competencies that focus on collaboration.  The idea of “teaching people a new range of competencies that focus on collaboration is a key step to developing collaboration skills, reports the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) in their 2014 report, Future Trends in Leadership Development.

In The Collaboration Game™ people are introduced to competencies aligned with each operating principle.  For example, competencies aligned to the principle – Rely on Each Other – are:  Relationship Building, Team Player and Team Management.  Once introduced, teams are challenged to discover solutions to a series of scenarios that examine their application of these competencies (skillset) for offering “win-win” solutions.

Developing a collaboration mindset along with applying a range of competencies that focus on genuine collaboration are two steps that can be learned.  To learn more, go to:  www.winsorjenkins.com

It’s All In The Game

Today’s highly competitive global business world – where technology is empowering organizations to be more responsive to markets, and empowering employees on the front line to make decisions, to take risks, and to manage constant change – has become more and more like soccer.  Described as the age of collaboration, soccer provides the best example of what the interdependent nature of the team experience looks like.  Played at its highest level, the best soccer teams in the world succeed by practicing genuine collaborative teamwork.

COLLABORATE to INNOVATE USING SOCCER’S MODEL

Innovation continues to be central to business growth with collaboration and technology acting as key enablers.  The Center for Creative Leadership (see report, Future Trends in Leadership Development) reported that, “researchers (over the past 10 years) have shown that innovation is a result of large numbers of connection points in a network that cause existing ideas to be combined in new ways.”  The report goes on to say that, “innovation doesn’t emanate from individual people; it lives in the social network.”

With that said, soccer’s model provides the best description of a network for learning (and applying) genuine collaborative teamwork leading to improved team effectiveness – and innovation.  For example, a large (if not infinite) number of connection points are created in a network consisting of 11 players on the field who operate in a dynamic fashion under constantly changing conditions.  Moving the ball on the field equates to causing existing plays (ideas) to be combined in new ways for the purpose of scoring goals (or innovating).

DEVELOP MINDSET BEFORE SKILLSET

Most people don’t function with a mindset that supports genuine collaborative teamwork. The typical mindset supports “group work” that is more about cooperating or coordinating with others.  This disconnect explains, in-part, why team development has been an ongoing challenge in organizations.

In my book, The Collaborator: Discover Soccer as a Metaphor for Global Business Leadership, 11 operating principles are introduced as the core component of an operating platform for practicing genuine collaborative teamwork.  These principles mirror actions that happen on the soccer field.  Together, they serve as governing principles (mindset) teams must learn to shift from values that favor individual responsibility and performance to values that favor genuine collaborative teamwork.  “Focus on Team – Not Position,” is one example of a principle.  Like world class soccer teams, success on the business field is made up of learning and applying the operating principles to support team collaboration.

The COLLABORATION GAME™

Developing an alternative mindset using these 11 operating principles is a step that must be learned.  The idea that one can simply insert a new mindset as if it were a piece of software – is not practical and highly ludicrous.  This spring we are launching a new training program call, The Collaboration Game, to address this development need.  The program is a one day, team-based experiential training simulation modeled on the game of soccer.  You can learn more about this program at:  www.winsorjenkins.com.

 

Women, Sport and Leadership

With the women’s World Cup Soccer Tournament coming up next month in Canada, I’m reminded of how powerful “sport” in general – and “soccer” in particular – can help develop leadership skills that can be readily transferred from the soccer field to the global business field.

Looking back, on an international level, Nelson Mandela was a great leader who believed in (and leveraged) the power of sport “to change the world, to inspire and to unite people.”  Closer to home, I’ve heard Mark Parker, Nike’s President & CEO, talk about “leveraging the power of sport to change lives…that it can be a game-changer.”

In a recent article, C-Suite Athletes (Talent Development Magazine – January 2015), author Stephanie Castellano shared the results from a survey of 400 women executives conducted by EY Women Athletes Business Network and espnW that, “94 percent have participated in sports…with women in the C-Suite, just over half (52 percent) played sports at the university level.”  Furthermore, the survey found that, “few women executives have not played sports – just 3 percent of women in the C-Suite and 9 percent of women at other management levels.”  The study goes on to “validate long-held theories that women who are athletes are well-suited for the business world and have tangible advantages,” says Laura Gentile, vice president of espnW.

The beauty of recognizing the sport of soccer, for example, as a platform for developing women leaders (in particular) lies in an athlete’s opportunity to learn the interdependent nature of teamwork, described as “genuine collaborative teamwork,” by Danah Zohar in her Abstract, An Alternative Understanding of Teamwork as Complex: Soccer.  This learning opportunity syncs-up well to the global business model, described as an interdependent network in my book, The Collaborator: Discover Soccer as a Metaphor for Global Business Leadership!  Here, “new or different skills and values are needed to effectively perform in a knowledge-intensive, decentralized and time-challenged global business environment.”

Since are no prerequisites for playing soccer (unlike many other sports), the opportunity to participate in a sport where all players are viewed as leaders on the field – dealing with managing constant change – is a scenario aligned with the argument made by management guru, Gary Hamel, describing the “need to syndicate the work of leadership across organizations…calling for a new platform for managing change…with traditional structures demanding too much from too few (see McKinsey & Company Interview, Leaders everywhere: A conversation with Gary Hamel, May 2013).”

Soccer represents the best example of a real self-directed team charged with performing the work under changing conditions.  This sport recognizes the mutual dependency between players on the field enabling genuine collaborative teamwork.  Because all players on the field are described as skillful, adaptable and not position-driven (except for the goalkeeper), the game demands flexibility to change quickly, assimilate new information on the run and apply multiple skills.

As you watch the women’s World Cup in June, I challenge you to look at the game from a leadership perspective…and ask yourself in these skills are transferable to the global business field.  Enjoy the World Cup!