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Team Building: You don’t have to be polite to build a team…..

You work with a group of people you admire and respect, but you might not be a team…..

It’s common to refer to the people you work with as ‘your team’, and why not? There’s something reassuringly human about feeling you’re part of a team. You enjoy working with your colleagues, and get a lot of satisfaction from the time you spend together. Everyone’s polite, you greet each other warmly each morning, share a joke over a coffee, and help new staff members learn their way around the office. You know each other well, trust each other, never argue, and all birthdays and significant personal events are energetically celebrated. To cap it all off, you are all committed to achieving a common goal, everyone pulls their weight, and at the end of each year you have a fun-filled treasure hunt followed by a long lunch.  All this could be true, and yet you might not be a high-performing team. In fact, you might not be a team at all!

Whether the challenge be delivering a contract or project, providing specialised services, undertaking an assigned task, changing organisational processes, or exercising executive leadership across an organisation, teams aspiring to perform at greater than the sum of their parts, pay attention to five specific disciplines: 

  1. Commissioning: The team has a deep understanding of why it was brought into being, what it must deliver, and the boundaries within which it operates.
  2. Clarifying: The team’s purpose, strategy (values, goals, objectives) and individual roles are clear, integrated, and aligned.
  3. Co-creating: Team dynamics, work practices and culture (must do’s and must never do’s), align with and support the team purpose.
  4. Connecting: Team members present a consistent, unified front as they individually and collectively shape relationships with external stakeholders.
  5. Core Learning: Team members observe and reflect on changes in the external operating environment, and develop individual and team capabilities accordingly.

Note: Adapted from ‘Leadership Team Coaching’, Peter Hawkins, 2011

Try rating your team from 1 (not at all) to 5 (completely) in the five disciplines above, and contact us on  for a confidential conversation if you’d like to explore your team’s untapped potential. 


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