Prime Advantage Blog

Great Team Results: It's Not About Talent

Louise O'Sullivan on Sep 24, 2015 7:30:00 AM

092415_ImageYou did it! You found the most talented people in their respective field for each area of your team. All you need to do now is sit back and reap the benefits of their abilities! If this were only the case. The most crucial component of team performance isn't talent, it's trust. Without trust, a team will rarely achieve its goals.

If you want a truly collaborative team that churns out innovative ideas and solves tough problems, its members need to be able to effectively work together. There are volumes of conjecture out there talking through the process of how to produce a productive team. But at the core of any successful team, whether formal or informal, is trust.

We have all heard people say, "but I don't like that person." You don't have to be friends with each and every person you encounter at work. But what you do need is to know that they are going to follow through and do what they say they are going to do. This only happens through experience, because we are all humans who will initially distrust and only convey trust if or when we feel safe. You can make others reach this safety with you through three basic behaviors:

  1. You have to openly share the information that you possess. Hiding intel from others makes you the "Great and Powerful OZ," right? No, it makes you the person who is shifty and difficult to engage. It will also make people not trust you, or likely not act on the information that you tell them.

  2. You have to act in a way that creates solutions and lends help. If you are doing it your way, others be damned, then you are likely producing something that is incomplete and causing additional work for others. This often results in the team trying to avoid your involvement or assigning you unessential tasks.

  3. Your competence is derived by your reliability. If you are the person who consistently misses deadlines and doesn't complete items assigned to you, you are likely not valued by your team. You are also probably viewed as incompetent because people will assume you don't have the knowledge or skills to complete the task.

If you are looking to build an innovative, break-through team, the members have to trust one another in order to share their experiences and personal knowledge. This extra information is how teams can attack bigger issues and reach the next level. It can also keep them from waffling and repeating past mistakes. Once people unconsciously act with the benefits of others in mind, the results can be amazing.

Strong teams are formed on predictable and consistent behavior. Many people in the world like to float effortlessly through life and many will seek the path of least resistance. To do this, they need patterns and habits that bring them through the bulk of their daily interactions. When you surprise someone, unless it is with streamers and balloons, it is most likely not pleasant for that person. You will have taken away their happy, safe feeling. So always be aware of how your actions are impacting others, especially if you need that person to cooperate with you in the future.

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Topics: Sustainability and Sustainable Business Practices, Talent and Leadership

Louise O'Sullivan

Posted by Louise O'Sullivan

Louise O'Sullivan founded Prime Advantage, a Chicago-based Group Purchasing Organization for mid-market manufacturers, in 1997, following a successful 22-year manufacturing executive career with the Dover Corporation. Louise has won top manufacturing and supply chain awards, and is a featured speaker at many events.

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