While sports are fun to watch for the excitement, from an organizational standpoint, they’re also fascinating studies of efficiency. After all, each team has a very clearly-defined goal–to win–and the entire team is structured to help realize that goal: The coach needs to have the decisiveness to call the right plays. The quarterback needs to be precise in order to get the ball where it needs to go. The receiver needs to have the insight to anticipate where he can maneuver down the field. Like gears in a machine, everyone has an important and unique part to play if the team is going to succeed.
The coaches and players in the example above are able to achieve their team’s goals–literally, in fact–because each person has the right skills and attributes to succeed in their position, and they work together in order for the team to win. This same pattern exists in business: Since all organizations are comprised of teams, these the teams should be built to take full advantage of each individual’s unique attributes, or the innate qualities they have. When done properly, each member of the team serves a valuable role on the team, and as such the team has much greater success.
As you arrange teams for certain projects in your organization, be mindful of the unique attributes that each team member will bring to the table in order to achieve the objective of team. Don’t simply group some of your employees together and say, “Oh, they’ll figure out what they need to do.” If you do this don’t be surprised if the team does not deliver the expected results. Furthermore, you certainly aren’t setting them up for success by randomly throwing them together without considering their attributes and how their attributes might work together or toward the team’s goal.
Instead, approach team building surgically by focusing on unique attributes of each person and what skills and distinctions are required for the project. Ask yourself: What are the objectives this team needs to accomplish? What attributes are necessary to realize these objectives? Who in the organization has these attributes? Do you need a detail oriented individual to track and monitor the progress of the project, and to bring convergence to the various sub projects? Does the project require a creative person, some who can think “out-of-the-box”? Will the results of the project require the need for team to “sell” the results to others in the organization? By looking at “what the project calls for” and matching this with the unique attributes of each person, you ensure everyone on the team will be serve a valuable role on the team, and as such, the team will have greater success.
Of course, building high-performance teams is a multi-faceted process, but one of the key steps is drawing on your employees’ unique attributes in order to catalyze the team’s success. If you want your teams to run like well-oiled machines, then you need to make sure that all the gears–the employees and their attributes–fit together smoothly.