Have you ever wished you could clone a dream team? Or had a team that should be high performing but for some reason it is not?
“Building Winning Teams” was the topic I presented at last year’s CEO Talent Summit, held at West Point. Now in anticipation of the 2020 Talent Summit I’d like to bring you a next-generation follow up on how to view high performing dream teams with science and data. Your people and how they are going to perform as a team on any given objective does not have to require guess work or trial and error.
By using predictive data and analytics in a new way, we can now increase speed to strategic value, and scientifically “look under the hood” of teams to anticipate their dynamics and how well they might match up against the work to be done.
If you have ever played on a successful sports team or worked with a high performing business team, you know that effortless feeling of having individual roles and collaborative strengths align to create consistent wins. Defining the chemistry and skills of great teams is often elusive though, and therefore difficult to replicate elsewhere.
But what if you could visualize how you and your teams’ collective and individual strengths, characteristics and blind spots overlay onto a map of the business goals? When you understand your team dynamics in an identifiable way, those qualities can be more easily replicated.
In both corporate and M&A settings 2020 has been a crash course in business agility. For rapidly shifting initiatives, the ability to assign the right blend of people to them creates more consistent results. We have seen the value this data-based look brings to corporate and private equity teams.
With the help of new technology from The Predictive Index we take a 3-step approach to view the people doing the work against the work to be done. It begins with the leader of the team or organization.
1) You: understanding how you lead, think and work.
Self awareness of your natural work and communication style, from science-backed behavioral data is strategically empowering. With data you can visualize where your natural strengths impact the workplace and address any potential blind spots with respect to others and goals.
2) You + Others: exploring the dynamics between you and others.
Common situations might be team tension that impacts work, or personalities that tend to take over and drive the group into wrong directions. As companies manage long range virtual work and/or some staff returning to the office, these factors can have dramatic positive or negative impacts on the productivity and people.
3) You + Others + Work: uncovering natural strengths and blind spots of the team as a whole against the work to be done.
By seeing how any team plots and aligns against business objectives, it illuminates any talent gaps that could hamper achieving success. Struggles with team cohesion and productivity can be exacerbated by the outside pressures such as social, health and economic realities that weigh on your people. However when teams are equipped and empowered to be high performers, they can better weather external forces.
Data-based Results – Corporate Case Study
Pre-covid: After working with a market leading company’s CFO and his executive team, the science based findings about the team illuminated:
• how the leader’s visionary style was well supported by the makeup of this team to execute on objectives
• why key personalities were commonly at odds in meeting their ability to work together. When they better understood each other’s innate work styles (i.e. detailed plans vs. bigger vision goals) they realized they were necessary counter balances to the same goal. This awareness and making simple communication adjustments increased their productivity and reduced friction on the senior team.
• how as a team they aligned to the work to be done (pre-pandemic) which was strong.
• how succession plans could look with a visual plot of talent strengths and cautions.
Post-covid: The awareness gained from this work together positioned them to successfully shift to their reconfigured second half of 2020 growth plans.
Data-based Results – Private Equity Application
In corporate, transformations of all types and scale have become sudden and necessary to adapt to today’s rapid shifts with consumers, employees, work methods, the workplace and home life. During M&A activity the same type of business agility is needed but is often more complex due to leadership changes.
In private equity, contingency plans have become a norm instead of an exception. According to industry veteran John Bova, VP-Private Equity at RGP, these are some examples of such “what if” scenarios:
• your current top line was in jeopardy due to a rapid technology change or wide adoption?
• your revenue forecast stream from new products/services had to be shelved for 90 or 180 days?
• cash conversion changed course and went from your industry standard to a 25% increase in days?
• you had to double the funding to a new product and service launch to capitalize on a trend transforming the industry faster than expected?
• course correction of human capital or digitalization strategies required additional funding?
“Executive alignment and planning in difficult times provides greater bounce and above market growth if planning has been thoughtful,” notes Bova. “Agility requires speed and a flattening of the structure. Therefore without consideration of the C-Suite dynamic, any digital or customer experience engagement will be limited in success.”
In any business environment, data and visualization enhance the speed to strategic value. When you can scientifically break down common team types and identify similar characteristics you can bring a more systematic approach to building and maintaining high performing ones. The leadership principles I presented at last year’s CEO Talent Summit about action, communication, trust and transparency are still integral to winning teams. What data accelerates is the ability to decode, diagnose and replicate. If you already use predictive people data, harness the power of it to deconstruct your dream teams so you can create others. If you have not yet considered using data in this way, it could help take the mystery out of what makes your high performers win.
For more information and to register for the CEO Talent Summit, click here.
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