Four Steps to Dream Team Performance

Are you a member of a successful team or one that performs marginally or miserably? Have you ever wondered why some teams excel at what they do and why their people are energized, happy and having fun? What differentiates these successful teams from those that experience low performance, with people who are demoralized, complaining and depressed? You may be surprised to learn that “dream team” performance is almost guaranteed when four foundational neuroscience principles are practiced. They are easy to understand and implement when forming new teams, retooling struggling teams and taking successful teams to higher potential. Dream teams may include couples, families, businesses, sports and organizations of all sizes and types. Teams who practice continuous learning and improvement maintain the “razor’s edge.”

Step# 1 Align Team Members with Mission, Values and Goals

Discussion

A simple definition of a team is “a group of people that come together to do something together.” Teams often fail because their purpose and values are vague, unknown or unacceptable. There must be a clear and compelling purpose and value for team members to be interested, motivated and engaged. Values ultimately determine team success and sustainability, because values drive behavior. The higher values of “service,” “teamwork” and “continuous learning” will ultimately prevail over values of “competition,” “self-interest” and “disrespect.” Even a team with a strong and charismatic leader will fail without a clear purpose and good values. https://patellawteam.com/

Neuroscience Principles

Your brain voluntarily engages with work, projects, and people when there are strong value components and desired positive outcomes. Your brain pays maximum attention and engages with situations containing high levels of intrinsic and extrinsic rewards. Your brain likes challenges, inspiration and noble causes. Consistent favorable outcomes, and even the thought of future potential outcomes, keep your brain focused, flexible, curious, interested and hungry for similar experiences.

Practices

All team members will be well served in the process of creating and refining their team mission, values and major goals. These actions connect each person to the collective team. A major role of the Team Leader is to continuously communicate and strengthen the team purpose and values. This step achieves team unity by aligning everyone with the mission and values. Team member needs may vary widely and do not have to be the same to have a united team. Having compelling reasons for each team member to be engaged, interested and productive is the key to this foundational alignment step.

Outcomes

Shared values and alignment of purpose are the team’s:navigation system.” Successful teams never get lost or disconnected, even in changing and chaotic times, when their navigation system points to “magnetic north.” The team is bonded through their values as they work collaboratively and cooperatively in alignment with their mission and goals. Teams having achieved this first step are poised for successful outcomes and camaraderie.

Step #2 Define and Build Core Competencies

Discussion

Essential and collective knowledge, skills and experience form the core competencies of a superior team that meets and exceeds its goals and customer needs. As examples, technological core competencies for Canon include optics and microelectronics; Honda’s technical competencies include small, quiet and powerful engines, and, drive trains. Core competencies may include sales excellence, market research, product development and customer service. Criteria for core competencies include:

  • Transferable to multiple products and services
  • Access to multiple market segments, customer groups and applications
  • Difficult for competition to replicate quickly
  • Learning and brain-based intellectual property

Neuroscience Principles

Core competencies define the focal points for learning, sharing, and applying essential knowledge to the team goals. Learning occurs best when people are willing to be vulnerable and honest about what they truly “know, apply and teach” rather than what they “know about” (e.g. shallow knowledge to impress).The core competency list becomes the most important daily team tool for continuous growth and improvement. This focus harnesses each team member’s brainpower and builds a powerful “team brain.” Intellectual property and skill sets grown by a well-developed team are not easily replicated by competition.

Practices

Each team member is assigned the responsibility to develop and grow one or more core competencies. The list of team core competencies should not exceed five. The analogy is “inch wide and mile deep” rather than “mile wide and inch deep.” Core competency teams constitute a minimum of three people. This helps protect the intellectual property in the event a team member leaves. Core competency teams meet quarterly, or more frequently, to share learning with the other competency teams. This activity can be likened to connecting and filling silos of knowledge.

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