Many companies I meet with struggle with the team performance. Their teams aren’t integrated and operating at maximum efficiency. What does a lack of team integration look like?
A lack of integration in business is evident by infighting. For example, production blaming supply chain when they don’t have necessary parts. Or, a sales teams blaming marketing for lousy marketing material. Perhaps, managers blaming employees for lack of production or, employees complaining because management doesn’t get it. Sound familiar?
Scroll down to read this week’s blog post all about team integration.
There is a lot of information to be found on team building. Some of it is good, and some of it is not so good. Most businesses inherently understand team building, and some companies spend small fortunes on team building exercises and off-sites to leverage the benefits of team building.
Team building and team integration is something different. To illustrate, I’ll turn to my experience with youth sports. Every coach builds a team. The coach identifies the needs (the positions needed to play) and, assigns players to play those positions. The coach and their staff will work to develop the players skills to be successful at that position. This is team building. Come game time, the coach has a team.
Team Building vs Integration
I have had the experience of coaching teams with and without integration. The team that wasn’t integrated struggled during each game to be successful. Each player knew his position and responsibilities. However, some of the kids didn’t trust or rely on their teammates. As a result, kids wouldn’t pass the ball to each other, offer help on defense. As a result, when we lost (which was almost inevitable) they would blame each other and never take responsibility for their part in the loss.
When I had a well-integrated team, my players relied on each other, and did everything they could not to let each other down. There was more comradery, the season was more fun, and we won a lot more! When the team was integrated, they were in it for more than personal success. They were there for the team.
There is an old story about President Kennedy visiting NASA during the early days of the Apollo program. President Kennedy was doing a tour of the facilities and met a janitor wearing coveralls and holding a mop. The president asked the man what he was doing there. The janitor replied, “I’m helping to put a man on the moon.”
Now I can’t believe that story happened, but it does make a point. This janitor felt integrated as part of a team. He saw the vision of putting a man on the moon and he was doing his part. His part might have been moping the floors, but it was a necessary job that enabled the engineers to do their job.
Teams that are integrated are working for something larger than them their actual job. They see a bigger picture. Therefore, it is important that leaders share their vision with their employees, so everyone knows how they are contributing, and why their job is important to the company. Many times, people get so focused on the day to day aspects of their jobs, they lose focus of the bigger picture. When this happens teams will start to dis-integrate.
Well integrated teams see much more success than other teams. Again, when you look at sports, players that practice together in the off seasons are more “in tune” with each other than players that don’t. That translates to more victories on the field.
Integrated business teams tend to be more entrepreneurial. This helps companies find faster cheaper better ways to compete. The entrepreneurial spirt helps companies see beyond the horizon and develop the “next best thing.” Integrated teams develop and retain the best people to help ensure success both in the short and long terms.
This Week’s Challenge
Is your team working at maximum efficiency? Are you seeing finger pointing and blame in your company? Do you see other signs of a lack of team integration?
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If you would like to discuss more ways to help your business grow or if you feel you have a specific problem that needs to be addressed, please reach out to me.