Work groups or teams that have settled into a mode of operating that not only gets the job done but allows familiarity and the sharing of all the joys and frustrations of extended family life, can sorely feel the impact that the departure of a team member can have. Assumed roles are thrown into disarray, dynamics go awry and personalities clash when the equilibrium that has been established over a period of time is shaken up.
And yet isn’t that a good thing?
In some companies, much thought goes in to creating teams of people whose working style is complementary and whose productivity and effectiveness is likely to be high as a result. Given a group of people whose purpose it is to work together, an organisation can use assessment resources to ascertain the individuals’ team and leadership styles. Through a series of ‘telling’ statements, these psychometric assessments identify those with a tendency for leadership, practical implementation, creativity, decision making, or objectivity, for example, and can assist employers in their selection or restructuring decisions.
But what of the team that has met all its deadlines and achieved all its goals? The big event or project that was the focus of everyone’s attention is over and anticlimax is at risk of setting in. How is momentum maintained, how are new challenges embraced and objectives exceeded? Our Olympic competitors have returned to what? A holiday? More training? A complete change?
In business and in team situations, maintaining that focus is essential to further success. Managers, coaches and business leaders are responsible for ensuring that momentum is kept alive by looking beyond the initial goal to a well-established strategic plan utilising the skills of a well matched team.
Like a favourite pair of slippers, a group you’ve worked well with for a while is naturally going to give you a sense of security, comfort, and familiarity. And a team member moving on, or a big project ticked off the list is inevitably going to be like the soles coming unstuck or the stitching unravelling.
Formal measurement aside, any new shoes need ‘breaking in’, and a refreshing of team dynamics and focus can be all the change that’s needed.
Prepared by Ian Chitty