The article above is the result of 2 years’ study in effective teams conducted by Google. As I examined the content, I realized that Google’s 5 Traits for effective teams were different than The Trident Approach’s 5 tenants. As I would have hoped, I took a deeper look into their findings as well as our own curriculum in order to see if we were missing something, perhaps we could improve our message and curriculum. Not long after I started this process, it hit me; Google missed something. If you haven’t read the article, I recommend you do so now. Before reading on, take a moment to think about how your findings might be different if you were to do the same study in your workplace. What are the things you would add or change- if anything- in Google’s study to ensure you have highly effective teams?
As mentioned before, Google’s findings were in line with our own tenants in creating and maintaining elite performing teams but they missed something important. So what was it? What did they overlook? Each of their 5 Traits are necessary to ensure effective performance but what are they missing that could be the downfall to the entire mission if it continues to be ignored?
All of their listed traits are absolutely valuable, relevant, and necessary to ensure elite operations but they are only about the individual or the individual effort within a team. This study would be complete if it were only speaking to singletons as in, marathon runners on USA’s Olympic Team. This list is however, incomplete if applied to our rowing team, or a marketing team, or a cross-functional team.
In addition to Google’s 5 Traits, we add “Promoting Teamwork.” In this tenant, we help you get a strong understanding of not only the genius you are bringing to the organization but also the genius of the people you work right next to every day and as important, HOW to unleash their given talents in support of the team. It’s not enough to go through the motions in assigning and completing tasks. We help you to understand who to put in what position and WHY you would do so. As a member or leader of a team, you must always be cognizant of the strengths and weaknesses of others on your organization and constantly questioning if they are being appropriately challenged or employed.
Most importantly, this list makes no mention of HOW effective teams work TOGETHER. There is no mention of building camaraderie. The truth is, you won’t always “like” the people you work with. This is even the case in the SEAL Teams. You can imagine with all the “Type-A” personalities that feathers are going to get ruffled and toes are going to be stepped on. In our world, sometimes, punches are thrown and unforgivable words are spoken at one another. These things happen, but the wounds are always dressed a little bit over biers and barbeque at the end of a hard night’s training. Ultimately at the end of the day, it comes down to two questions:
Do you Trust this person?
Do you Respect this person?
If the answer to both of these questions are, “yes” then nothing more need be said, it’s time to move forward- together. Why and how is this possible? Because at the end of the day, if we get in a fire fight, we will always support each other; no one gets left behind. This mindset only exists with mutual trust and respect.
Where does this mentality come from? “I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our mission. I am never out of the fight.” This statement was pulled directly from our Navy SEAL Ethos. This level of commitment and devotion doesn’t come from taking orders. It doesn’t come from only caring about your personal job. It DOES come with the bond that exists between warriors that have been tested together. Within sight of each other, they have witnessed growth and commitment of the individuals for the betterment of the whole.
Another saying we have is, “Earn Your Trident Every Day.” If you prove yourself worthy on a daily basis, you will find that “liking” each other isn’t so necessary in the mission to serving each other. True happiness comes in serving others. Finding a team that is committed to growth of not only the mission but also to the motley crew that may comprise your team is what gives you staying power. Sometimes to wield, sometime to lean on.
The one thing that tech can’t replace is human interaction. We are not computers, and we weren’t meant to live on a deserted island. Teams are built with people who are dedicated not only to the mission, but also to the enrichment and service to each other. Don’t ever forget it and don’t over-look this vital and inspiring point.
As always, you are welcome to challenge our thinking in the comment section below. I’m looking forward to the discussion!