High performing teams have been a frequent topic in the top 10 business watch list for over 40 years. What we know, however, is that a focus solely on high performance is not enough and that a new perspective is needed to help teams evolve through current times. Leading organisations are realising that to sustain performance, a dual focus is required on wellbeing and performance.
The day started well, clear blue sky and the anticipation of a leadership coaching meeting. On the way to the meeting, I stopped at a car wash with the thought to kill two birds with one stone, as they say, to prep for my meeting while the car had a well overdue clean. I had only been there for a short time when all of a sudden there was a flash of movement to my left followed by a very loud bang. It was a totally unexpected shock and it took a moment to work out what had happened and how witnessing this led me to a sacred moment later.
Much has been written in relation to how COVID-19 has accelerated the movement towards employee’s working remotely. There is no doubt about this. What there does appear to be some doubt about, however, is how best to achieve optimal team engagement and performance when the team is either working remotely or semi-remotely.
Much conflict in organisations is due to polarities that people do not realise exist. One polarity that CEOs need to actively manage is the tension between senior executives being part of the senior executive ‘team’ versus leading their own functional teams within the organisation.
Imagine if your organisation contained a hidden reservoir of energy and the only way to tap into that energy was through a shift in leadership perspective?
Back in 1989, when the reward for taking an early morning flight was the lavish breakfast served with fine silver, I was travelling with one of our state managers, Michael. I asked him about his approach to time management and how he managed to stay on top of it all. After he had rested his two sachets of butter on the alfoil over his hot meal (softening them for an easier spread) he replied, ‘to be honest, sometimes I just love the chaos’.
Given that high performing teams has been a top 10 business topic for over 40 years, perhaps it’s time to reconsider how to approach this from a different perspective. So what does it entail to move beyond the notion of a high performing team to build a team that can thrive?
With many people adapting to life back in the office, hybrid working environments and flexible working conditions, the issue of belonging comes up in a new light. We have long known that food, water, shelter and rest are vital for survival but it has only been through more recent neuroscientific research that belonging is understood to be just as vital.
We know resilience is something you can develop within yourself. Our thoughts, our emotions can be elevated, we can practice mindfulness routines and we can develop our inner strength, our bounce-back. But is it all enough when we do not exactly know what it is we are preparing for?