Harnessing the Power of Teams of Teams
If you ask an executive, “how aligned is your leadership team?,” they often answer by referring to how connected the leadership team members feel with each other. This keeps alignment focused on agreement rather than commitment. A more complete way to think about alignment is to look at the extent to which the teams reporting to senior leaders are aligned with each another. This teams of teams perspective is more closely connected to the concept of operational assurance, which emphasizes a culture of accountability where the teams deliver the promises in the operating plan, so senior executives can shape the market and recruit the best talent.
To effectively leverage teams of teams in delivering on the operating plan, a different approach is needed. Most organizations still function under the idea that each team will do their work, and senior leaders will add up the results to determine how well the organization is performing. However, an operational assurance mindset requires the continuous negotiation and alignment around a compelling plan, commitment to executing the plan, and accountability for delivering expected results. So, how do you create a goodness culture where people thrive together and seek accountability?
It all starts with changing the belief system from an individualistic to a collective perspective.
Rather than only rewarding individual achievement, shift your focus towards recognizing and rewarding team achievements. Change from departmental, or an individual team perspective, to a teams of teams approach.
- During senior team meetings, expect senior leaders to focus on tackling organization needs first, then engage the team in determining how they will align their teams to deliver against those needs.
- Create cross-functional teams to tackle critical business issues and coach them to focus on solving business problems, not protecting their own department.
Then, change your actions…
- Conduct an intellectually honest assessment of how your policies, procedures, and structures may actually be stopping, discouraging, or punishing team-based behaviors.
- Commit to rewarding, encouraging, and supporting positive team behaviors more than individual behaviors.
Adopting a teams of teams perspective can establish open accountability and fully engage teams in delivering the best results. However, it also requires executives to shift their focus from individual results to organization needs—the external drivers of success, such as shaping the market and attracting great talent. While this can be a significant change for those who have been rewarded for delivering individual results, it’s a necessary step in creating a culture of accountability and harnessing the power of teams of teams.
Are you ready to take your organization to the next level? By committing to changing beliefs, behaviors, and actions, you can create a culture where people thrive together and achieve great results.