In a meeting yesterday, I was asked to define what a winning team looks like? What allows a team to win, over and over again?
“A winning team plans better, trusts each other more and works even harder.”
Crisis in a modern business — whether it be a startup or a large enterprise or a team working on web application development projects or mobile application development project is inevitable. Budgets get cut, systems break, projects get delayed, legal issues arise, products don’t get shipped, customers complain, social media mishaps happen, key employees quit. To survive, executives and management teams have to respond quickly, and strategically.
There’s a great book written by two University of Michigan professors on this topic –Managing the Unexpected. It examines the key elements that dictate the behavior of great teams that survive and thrive while others fail. The professors analyzed teams of all sizes, from factory workers to aircraft operators to medical specialists to come to their conclusions.
These teams, which they referred to as, “High Reliability Organizations”, are distinguished by their extraordinary ability to handle risk, stress and steer across the unexpected turns. Their ability to plan, strategize and react is what makes them standout from the crowd to achieve a state of mindfulness.
At their core, these teams have the following 5 elements that make up their mindfulness.
- Preoccupation with failure - a burning desire to learn from mistakes to prevent future ones. Having processes to document and share learnings freely with each other.
- Reluctance to simplify interpretations - employing brutal honesty in their cultures. In the digital space, over simplification of scope and requirements is often the cause of projects failing.
- Sensitivity to crisis - being ready to identify and respond to a crisis. Plan in advance. Data is all here now.
- Commitment to resilience - building a team that is excited to handle and bounce back from crisis without tearing each other apart.
- Deference to expertise - respecting insights from “experts” within the business irrespective of their seniority or lack thereof. (This is highly relevant in the digital space, given its more about the mindset than the age).
429 of the original Fortune 500 companies are no longer in business today.
Business world is rapidly changing. Your past success is no longer a prove point of your future success. To survive, your businesses must be built to move fast, be agile and experiment and always be learning. Moving fast and experimentation means your teams are bound to break a thing or two. The organization must be built to address these moments of crisis. The teams must be built to absorb, react, recover and learn from these incidents.
As you build your teams, your culture and your hiring practices. Look for folks who are never satisfied with mediocre, who don’t fit your typical moulds, who care more, and who truly are passionate. After all,