The 3-step formula for building dream teams that get it done (no matter what)
Your head and your heart are in the right place.
You’ve navigated the choppiest of 2020 waters, and resolved to steer the ship ahead. But 2021 brings more fog to push through.
You know where you want to be. You also understand that building a cohesive team—aligning toward a common goal—is the only surefire way to get there.
But you can’t just build that team without a talent optimized strategy. That strategy hinges on self-awareness—an understanding of strengths, blind spots, and behavioral tendencies at every level. That means understanding:
Only when you’ve built awareness at each of these critical levels can you proceed to step four: Action.
Dream teams get it done—because they’ve settled on the who, what, and how.
Let’s walk through each level of awareness, all leading up to the crucial action step. That way, when it’s time to take action, you can confidently put 2020 in the rearview, and lead your dream team through the remaining fog.
What does it mean to be self-aware at work? First, it means making an important distinction. You may operate differently in a professional setting than you do in a social one.
A behavioral assessment helps identify some of your strongest drives by distinguishing between the self and self-concept. Recognizing those drives—and how they might manifest in a workplace—is a huge first step.
What are your strongest behavioral drives? Which ones are more situational? Think about how these show up amid uncertainty, such as indefinite remote work.
Many of us lean heavily on our strongest drives under stress. For example, if you have a high Formality drive, you might use process and order as a crutch when things are in limbo. But if the circumstances call for more flexibility—say, acting quickly under a time constraint—that could present an issue.
If you can stop yourself in those moments and stretch, rather than rigidly adhering to structure, that’s self-awareness in action. Not only does this help you adapt to the situation as needed—it can inspire others to do the same.
Start with your own behavioral profile. Think about how each drive manifests at work, and keep that knowledge in your pocket during every interaction you have. You might be amazed how much that awareness helps you navigate difficult discussions.
Understanding your team
Most of us are familiar with self-awareness at the individual level. But how do you foster self-aware teams? At first, the concept feels more abstract.
Enter Team Discovery. This tool helps you visualize where the people on your team plot behaviorally, and how those profiles map back to the collective makeup.
Team Discovery sheds light on not only the group’s strengths, but also its gaps. Similar to individual triggers, these team pitfalls could be holding you back from meeting your objectives.
Are you pursuing an innovative strategy with a group of more process-driven people?
Team Discovery illuminates areas of misalignment. It also promotes an awareness of your Team Type. Think of this as a Reference Profile for the group—a guiding identifier and critical component of collective self-awareness.
A team that sees its own strengths and gaps can more immediately address them. That might mean adding to or subtracting from its headcount. Or it might mean shuffling people from one role to another, optimizing their talents, and utilizing them in new ways to balance the group for the better.
This awareness can lead to lightbulb moments for when making pivotal decisions around strategy. Suddenly, your team makes total sense.
Understanding the work to be done
You can have all the self-awareness in the world, but without action, you’re not getting full value for that knowledge. Effecting action and making progress toward your objectives starts with a people strategy that aligns with the business strategy
You’ve identified your strengths and gaps. You see where people plot on a behavioral chart, and where you might be stretched as individuals and as a group.
Now, compare that data with your goals and priorities. If there’s misalignment between the work to be done and the team doing that work, you need to take action. Otherwise, you aren’t maximizing your output.
Maybe that means there aren’t enough results-oriented people on hand to fully execute this strategy and achieve the desired outcomes. Or perhaps you need more innovators. Team Discovery helps assign next steps, so the members of this team can limit where they’re stretched and proceed with clear purpose.
OK, so you now understand yourself. You understand your team. And you have clear goals. What’s next?
Good news: The tools are already in your hands.
If you’ve identified a disconnect between your Team Type and its objectives, you can bridge it with the behavioral data already at your disposal.
Utilize behavioral comparisons—between the person and the job to be done—to streamline the solution.
Keep in mind that the person who can balance a misaligned team may already be in your organization. By prioritizing behavioral fit, you can more efficiently mold a cohesive team, repurposing internal talent in ways that benefit both the individual and the collective.
This is easier to do when you hire based on “head” and “heart.” You know the people within your organization, and you can be sure of their cultural fit. That means their briefcase—their resume or skill set—might be less consequential.
Find the people with the right behavioral makeup, and you’ll spend far less time trying to fit square pegs into round holes.
Awareness at every level
Nothing about 2020 has been simple, and there are no delusions that 2021 will be easy either. We may be on the roller coaster for a while yet, and businesses will have to remain agile, innovative, and—maybe most of all—cohesive.
But you can’t figure out any of that until you’ve firmed up your teams.
Promote self-awareness among individuals. Enhance your collective understanding of the team’s strengths. And always tie those learnings back to your goals.
Alignment and cohesion are ongoing priorities. You may need to continually tweak things to become a truly talent-optimized outfit.
But the process is easier once you’ve established that baseline of awareness. And with it, your dream teams will be prepared for anything 2021 throws at them.