The Key to Producing Great Teams

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award winning teamsSince my job is to help leaders produce seriously award-winning teams, I’m exceedingly (some would say irritatingly) interested in what makes great teams tick. Turns out I’m in good company! The folks at MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory have been working on this question for some time now, and they’ve come up with an answer. A single answer.

The MIT researchers have found that there is one trait that consistently and accurately predicts a team’s success. This single trait is, all by itself, as important as all other factors—factors like talent, personality, and intelligence—combined.

So what is this all-important predictor of success?

Communication patterns.

The way a team communicates—both within the team itself as well as with outside teams and individuals—is the key factor in determining the success of the team! And not in a generic “We communicate well” kind of way. No, I’m talking about specific communication patterns that you need to encourage in order to turn your team into an award-winning team. Here are a few of the patterns that you can start incorporating now:

  • In award-winning teams, face-to-face communication is used whenever possible, rather than e-mail, phone, or texting.
  • In award-winning teams, everyone talks and listens in roughly equal measure—nobody (not even you!) hogs the conversation.
  • In award-winning teams, team members face each other when communicating (yes, this actually has a measurable effect!).
  • In award-winning teams, team members connect with each other as much as they do with the team leader—in other words, everybody talks with everybody.
  • In award-winning teams, team members periodically interact with others outside the team, bringing new information back to the team.

With these thoughts in mind, take a look at the communication patterns within your own team. Do you (or somebody else, like maybe that obnoxious guy with the trendy haircut) tend to dominate the discussions? Do your team members talk with you, but not with each other? Is e-mail the default method of communication? Are your team members exploring outside of the team in order to bring new information back?

No matter where your team is now, you can make it even better. Starting today, you can begin to produce a seriously award-winning team!


About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
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