A lesson from international sport
International team sports such as football or rugby use teams formed of professional players who play regularly as members of their local clubs. In the international team there is a blend of players from different clubs and these days players may find themselves playing against their regular team members as they play for their national country.
In the work environment a new project forms a team and resources are matrixed in from different departments, often including subcontractors. What tends to happen in the work environment is that progress is only made in fits and starts, when the team comes together in a meeting or workshop good progress is made but outside these events the team dynamic subsides because people forget the team. This is particularly difficult with the advent of virtual teams so how can we sustain the progress made in meetings and workshops?
We can learn from the team sports here, each team has a very powerful sense of identity that binds them, this is not only apparent to the outside world, internally the identity creates a subliminal bond and a commitment.
A lesson from the US
In the US they are great at translating this to the workplace, large programmes will often have a team crest or shield and members will have coffee mugs, baseball caps and T-Shirts a little like street gangs who have solved the same challenge of commitment and loyalty with identity. In Europe we tend not to do this, I guess its a cultural thing, we perhaps feel its too obvious. Regardless of whether we want to create a uniform or not we must never forget the power of identity. The power of belonging and being loyal to one team.
Creating One Team
In your business you can leverage the power of one team for:
- Joint working with partners or suppliers
- Strategic Change programmes
- Significant Delivery Programmes
You can do this by deciding on a common identity, it needs to be a visual identity and it also needs a name so that it can be spoken and written to really embed it. Consider using lapel pins or specially customised security passes or pass lanyards, something that makes people feel that they belong, that they can be proud of that belonging and importantly that other people will recognise it.
Once you do this successfully you will find that the team starts to do great work, and the more this happens the more it will continue. If you are working with partners or suppliers make the team identity the primary one, keep their individual company identities for their pay checks and see how the contribution and collaboration rises.
One Team is powerful and works great in creating collaborative environments and bid teams. If you use it successfully in a bid team it can be carried through to delivery teams!