Friday, February 8, 2013

As Top Notch as a Carrier Crew

What does a high performing team look like? A bunch of seasoned veterans who have worked together forever?

Ever been on flight deck of a carrier. If you have, then you've seen a polished team of professionals accomplishing their mission with high levels of safety despite the danger of big machines, high powered steam catapults, and explosives. You watch them work flawlessly for a while. And when the flight operations are done, you watch them take off their helmets and you see a bunch of 19-20 year olds cracking jokes.

High performance teams, in the military and in business, have a common mission. The team members align their duties and activities towards the common mission, often sacrificing their 'comfort' for the good of the organization. Each member is responsible for their own arena, but aware of how their efforts impact the others. They commit to the values, practices and obligations of the organization. Those values include helping each other, coaching each other, suggesting improvements even up to the higher levels of the organization.

High performing teams, according to TJ Addington in Leading from the Sandbox, are not about meetings. He reminds us that they don't have to be friends, don't have to spend lots of time together, don't have to meet each other's social and emotional needs. These teams are not led by committee. They are led by people who empower and develop each person on the team and have a healthy sense of who they are as leaders and who the others are as team members. Being focused on execution, the teams are created, not randomly thrown together.

Need a high performance team? Of course, you do. What are you doing to create it?

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