You can achieve a lot by yourself, but you can achieve more with others. This is something that i’m convinced about. A strong team will provide challenges and frustrations in equal measure to support and enthusiasm, but managed correctly, this is what will make it successful.
I’ve been reflecting on the role of the team: how they are formed, how they develop and how they must change over time. The team that got you to where you are today may not be the team that you need to drive forward to the future.
A strong team will complement your strengths, but make up for your weaknesses. You can’t simply look to surround yourself with individuals who agree with you, or who think like you do. You need people with different backgrounds, different skills and different outlooks. People who see the world in different ways.
The greatest barrier to growth is comfort. Whether we are talking about growing a business, or personal growth through learning, comfort is the thing that generates the greatest lag. We need to face challenges, to grow, to develop over time, and much of that growth is stimulated by goals that we aim for. If we stop striving to achieve new things, we stagnate, and this is as true of teams as it is for individuals.
If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got. Nothing is more true than this. You need to change the things you do if you want to achieve something different. You need to do this yourself and you need to build a team around you to support you. You need to ensure that this team not only contributes to that growth, but also that it changes itself over time.
The team that got you where you are today is not likely to be the team that will get you to tomorrow.
But all too often today, teams are dealt with by businesses in a disposable way. Individuals are treated with contempt, and dropped as the needs of the business changes. Whilst i advocate the need for agile teams, you also need to treat people with dignity and respect. Trust is earned, not bought, and just as organisations develop over time, so do individuals. Rather than the rigid teams that we see so often within organisations, maybe we should be more fluid in our structures. Creating opportunities to move between teams is more likely to strengthen our efforts over time than it is to dilute our potential.
And when people leave a team, you should do it with as much warmth as when they join, because our success is linked to the success of others. We learn as we travel our individual journeys, and we share that learning in teams. It’s a mistake to just think we learn from our successes. We learn as much from our failures. We learn as much from the relationships that don’t work as we do from those that do.