I am not much of a car person. In fact, getting me from point A to point B without breaking down are the most important parts of a car, (and heated seats are pretty much mandatory). Nevertheless, cars are amazing machines; they have many parts and take armies of people to put together. Henry Ford, best known for creating the first vehicle available to the masses, did not succeed on his own. He knew he needed a team to take his vision from a dream to reality.
“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” –Henry Ford
How do we work together? There are unlimited varieties of teams but what are the key components that make a team effective and successful?
Diversity is a great place to start. Diverse teams make better decisions 87% of the time, according to a study published by Forbes about 200 different business teams. Even better, those teams also make decisions twice as fast as those that are not diverse. Do not fear differences. Embrace them. Diversity doesn’t just mean age or gender or race. Does someone think differently from you? Are they more analytical, able see things in a more positive light? Do they have a different vision, or are they better with interpersonal skills? As you work with your team, embrace your differences first. They might just end up being your biggest strengths.
Make sure you are contributing, but also make sure you welcome your teammates’ contributions. Be open to a new idea, even if your first inclination is to dismiss it at first glance.
“Diversity, or the state of being different, isn’t the same as inclusion. One is a description of what is, while the other describes a style of interaction essential to effective teams and organizations.” Bill Crawford, Psychologist
Leveraging diversity requires being open to your teammates’ ideas and embracing their contributions. Offer your point of view, your ideas, and your knowledge but never forget to listen and respect the ideas of others.
Have you ever played the telephone game? One person starts with a simple phrase, whispers it into their neighbor’s ear, and so on down the line.
“Henry Ford likes to make cars,” becomes “Betty Ford likes to make cars,” then “Betty Ford likes to make bars,” and finally “Betty Ford bikes to the bars.” Anyone see a problem here?
Consistently the phrase is transformed into something new and different. But each person is confident that he or she clearly communicated the correct information. This same thing happens between team members. The trick to good communication is easy: communicate, communicate again, clarify, then communicate again.
This isn’t even close to an exhaustive list of what makes a good team, but communicating clearly, valuing everyone’s contributions, and building diverse teams are great places to begin. Start your engines, put your team into gear, and head down the highway together.
What are your thoughts on the perfect parts that make a team’s engine purr?
Image Source: macro vector