What is the secret to creating a company Dream Team? Learn from what happened to the 1992 US Men’s Olympic basketball team. It was composed of some of the sport's greatest players -- Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing, Scottie Pippen, Karl Malone – and seemed destined to win without even trying. But in their first month of practice, they lost their first scrimmage game to a group of college players. “We didn’t know how to play with each other,” Scottie Pippen said after the embarrassing defeat.
These legendary athletes knew how to play the sport, but to win the game they had to strike a balance between individual performance and the team performance. Once they did, they went on to dominate the Olympics, scoring over 100 points every game and bringing home the gold.
Your teams may be struggling with the same problem. You have good people, but they haven’t learned how to work well together – because team dynamics is a learned skill. Use Grow Team Snapshot, a quick test to help you find out where they need to grow so they can slam dunk their next business goal.
The War Zone
How they think: High Drive / Low Cooperation
How they play: In basketball, players need to pass the ball to get it across the court and to the one who’s been positioned to take the best shot. But if everybody hogs the ball, because they want to get the points and the glory, it’s easier for the competition to block the shot and steal the ball.
Symptoms: Does your team have a lot of open or hidden conflict? Do people complain that someone always tries to get the credit, or pass the blame when something goes wrong? Or maybe they’re always doing overtime or missing deadlines simply because they’d rather do everything themselves instead of working with each other?
What they need to learn: Communication, conflict management, trust, psychological safety
The Comfort Zone
How they think: Low Drive / High Cooperation
How they play: For these players, the proverbial Olympics is “just a game.” They’re having fun, get along well, and have a strong support system. However, they’re not in it to win it.
Symptoms: Do projects drag out and problems get ignored because they’re afraid to pressure each other or call attention to mistakes? Are they content to meet the minimum requirement, forcing a manager to step in before they step up? It’s a shame, because their inherent loyalty and positivity would be such an asset if they were able to channel them solving business challenges.
What they need to learn: Leadership, project management, time management, motivation
The Stagnation Zone
How they think: Low Drive / Low Cooperation
How they play: They’ve stopped playing a long time ago.
Symptoms: Your team is just going through the motions of showing up at the office, clocking in the hours, and collecting a paycheck. They’re emotionally disengaged, not just from their work but from each other. Unfortunately, their negativity is contagious. Their lack of enthusiasm can frustrate and discourage team members who want to do well, but get no support or feel no rapport from those around them.
What they need to learn: Stress management, motivation, psychological support, communication
The Performance Zone
How they think: High Drive / High Cooperation
How they play: They’re not just strong players, they’re smart players. They know their roles and each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and are thus able to orchestrate their efforts so they bring out the best in each other.
Symptoms: Can you hear the crowds cheer? This winning team has learned to balance individual drive and cooperation. They’re able to deal with conflict, have created a positive and stimulating work environment, and can quickly respond to changes and opportunities.
What they need to learn: In a good place but can still strive for even better performance and collaboration.
What is your Team Zone?
Think of this moment as your team’s half-time break. Huddle together to find out where you are in the game, and what you need to change to up your game. Take the Grow Team Snapshot and identify your team’s strengths, challenges and opportunities.
The game isn’t over yet.