Friday, September 14, 2012

Who's on Your Survival Team?


Are you treading on shaky ground at work, quietly looking for a new job as you try to figure out how to recover? Or are you in transition, still wondering what you could have done differently? Let’s face it. In this economy, it’s all about survival, and to survive you need the right team.

Along the way to creating Teamability™, which is a completely new way to measure how people will ‘team’ together to achieve common goals, we learned a lot about how different people are attracted (or driven) to make meaningful contributions in group activities. When an individual has a strong focus on serving one of ten fundamental organizational needs, we call that their ‘Role.’

Teams comprised of people who naturally and effectively serve the ten organizational needs, will tend to generate positive ‘team spirit’ and coherent behavior. So if you find yourself doubting your own capabilities, or blaming yourself for a job-related misfortune, think again. Even the most heroic individual effort cannot equal the power and performance of strong, balanced, synergistic team.

Think of this as a peek into the world of Teamability – where it becomes possible to solve the ‘right people, right seats’ puzzle, and to predictably structure, develop, manage and motivate successful teams.

1.     Whenever a new organization or mission is being created and launched, the Role with a ‘big picture’ vision of the future is essential. In the language of Teamability – this is a Founder.

Clear vision and purpose are key components of positive team performance. If they weren’t present on your team, how can you blame yourself for lacking a sense of inspiration?

2.     The strategy person – the Role that seizes upon the vision and marshals the people, the resources, and the drive to make it happen – is a Vision Mover.

Without well-defined ‘mission control’, you and your colleagues may have felt as though you were on a rudderless ship. Was it really your fault for not always knowing which way you were supposed to be heading?

3.     The coach, or in Teamability terms, the Vision Former, complements the Vision Mover by providing focus, organization, and encouragement to the entire team.

When there is a lack of ongoing guidance, and wise shaping-up of activities and processes, neither you nor your colleagues had a genuine opportunity to be at your best.

4.     At one time or another, you have probably worked with a real ‘get-it-done’ person; someone who just burns through a task list and comes back for more. This Role is the Action Mover.

If you’re a big-picture thinker or planner, it’s just not right to expect that you should also be the right person to execute at the tactical level.

5.     In an increasingly decentralized business world, the project manager is a familiar figure, and an important one. The Role that can best handle this kind of responsibility is the Action Former, who is tailor-made for supervision at the tactical level.

If you’re always on the go, with complex activities to perform and way too little time in which to do them all, how can you also succeed in tracking the details and organizing the follow up?

6.     The person with an uncanny ability to find a key resource, uncover new information, or ‘scout’ the competition, most likely has the Role of Explorer.

People who are running day-to-day activities often need new or innovative solutions for thorny problems. If your immediate work requires your full attention, you can’t be expected to ‘head into the wilderness’ to search for it, can you?

7.     The Watchdog Role is a natural ‘resource broker’, always comfortable with responding to the needs of others, and very good at making the best use of what’s available – even when there’s not enough to meet demand. 

If you spend all of your time focused on bringing home what the organization needs – money, physical resources, information or opportunities – can you be faulted for not also making sure it goes to where it will do the most good?

8.     Teams, and organizations, can literally come ‘unglued’ in the absence of a person who is dedicated to making connections, spreading good news, and reminding others of their common interests. This ‘community builder’ has the Role of Communicator.

If you are responsible for creating a collaborative network and directing progress toward achievement of the mission, how reasonable is it to expect that you should also be the ‘feet on the street’,  connecting people whom you don’t personally know, and who may not know each other, and keeping their commitment and enthusiasm alive?

9.     Think through your previous business contacts. Can you recall working with someone who was always eager to be the ‘fixer’; who could dig in to problems and make things right in short order? Teamability identifies this Role as the Conductor.

Any long-term project that has a lot of moving parts can encounter dozens of potholes, problems, and roadblocks. If your job responsibilities require your full attention at the management level, how realistic is it to expect you to dive down and deal with every little glitch?

10. Here and there in every organization, you will find a ‘knowledge-keeper’: someone who preserves the lessons learned from both successful and unsuccessful initiatives. Why? Because they understand and respect the potential value and the usefulness of group history. This Role is identified through Teamability as the Curator.

If you need to know what has and hasn’t worked in the past, where to find obscure information, or even ‘where the bodies are buried’, this is your source. Organizations often underestimate the value of this Role, leaving teams vulnerable to ‘reinventing the wheel’, and people like you lacking information that could have guided your decisions.

Now really, few people have all ten of the Roles on their team, or at their beck and call. That’s why a secret to survival lies is in learning to recognize the different Roles among your office friends. If you build Role-diversity in that group, you’re covered no matter what kind of need or challenge may come your way.

Our twenty-five years of research, a revolutionary new ‘technology of teaming’, and a ton of experience in evaluating team structure, all point in the same direction: when you can recognize the different ways that people are attracted (or driven) to serve specific organizational needs, you will gain the information and the ability needed to work more collaboratively, make better choices, and get better results in any kind of team environment. What better way can there be to ‘fire-proof’ your career?

One last thing to remember: if you want all the Roles to be there when you need them, make sure you are on their survival team, too!

Copyright (c) 2012, The Gabriel Institute. All Rights Reserved.

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