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This is perhaps one of the most vital questions in all areas of human endeavours, from sports to software and everything in between. Humans are an aggressively social species because we need each other to accomplish complex tasks. When a team performs well together, the result is far greater than the sum of its parts. We’ve identified a few key elements that can help a team reach its highest potential.
Ensuring team members have complementary skills is one of the most vital steps management can take. When all necessary skills for a complex task are covered, work can be delegated, and individuals can focus on what they do best. As Einstein said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it’ll spend its entire life believing it’s stupid.” Identifying and encouraging individuals’ skills helps workers do their job well and have a sense of pride in doing so.
Next, having well-defined objectives — within which workers can work to the maximum possible degree of autonomy — is also a recipe for success. If nobody knows where the goal post is, how can they know how to score? Each team member needs to know what success looks like and how they can contribute to it.
Additionally, while company culture is often discussed like an inanimate object in the business world, it’s not something that just happens. Company culture is often a result of both inorganic and organic processes, i.e., top-down decisions and structure and bottom-up individual personality manifesting throughout an organization.
A healthy company and team culture is one that fosters trust, individual responsibility and accountability, and team members’ desire to learn and expand both individual and team skills. In many cases, a little dash of friendly competition can help push people to excel. This all has to take place in a framework that encourages openness and honesty, kindness, and shared victories.