Taking the Team to the Next Level

January 10, 2023

by John O. Burdett

The influence of the team on individual performance is often dramatically understated. Four critical dimensions shape team success.

No one makes it on their own. No one! Michelangelo had a dozen or more assistants when he painted the Sistine ceiling. Churchill regularly practiced his “impromptu speeches” on his friends. And next year’s champion of virtually anything wouldn’t even consider competing without a business manager, coach, personal trainer, massage therapist, dietician, equipment manager, driver, pilot and a host of other “helpers” on the team.

Four critical dimensions shape team success:

  1. What the team needs to know. The organisation’s overall mission. What do the organisation’s values really mean? Why does the customer buy and how will that change going forward? The goals and strategic priorities of other key teams. Acquisition and divestment plans. Competitive threats. How the business makes money.
  2. The quality of leadership demanded. A compelling purpose, the right leader, the right strategy, the right goals, roles and responsibilities understood, clear team roles and ground rules for team behaviour established.
  3. Supportive followership. Trust on the team, candour, listening, collaboration, affirmation, storytelling, humility and taking time to celebrate success.
  4. Accelerating the team through the learning curve. Team members coach each other, managing meetings, optimism, humour and a sense of fun, working successfully with other teams and taking time out to work on team performance.

There is a difference between cooperation and collaboration. One describes people working together in pursuit of a common goal. The other is rooted in the spirit of generosity that puts the needs of others first. One is ultimately self-serving. The other builds lasting trust and commitment. To be truly collaborative is to bring your whole self to the relationship. Because everything is shared … anything is possible.

The influence of the team on individual performance is often dramatically understated. The notion that you can change the organisation one person at a time is an equally flawed idea. Individual coaching not complemented by ongoing coaching of the team is to plant a tree and then forget to water it.

Critical Tools: The means to truly assess all aspects of team behaviour.

Coaching Imperative: The leader works for the team.

This article is an extract from “Coaching the CEO“, © Orxestra® Inc.

John O. Burdett is founder of Orxestra® Inc. He has extensive international experience as a senior executive. As a consultant he has worked in more than 40 countries for organisations that are household names. John has worked on organisation culture for some of the world's largest organisations. His ongoing partnership with TRANSEARCH International means that his thought leading intellectual property, in any one year, supports talent management in many hundreds of organisations around the world. Get in touch with John O. Burdett »

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