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The 3Cs of team growth


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Phenomenal teams are characterised by their high levels of trust and their drive to continually exceed expectations. They benchmark themselves on the world’s best. They provide the foundation for sustained success. How do we ensure such levels of team growth in the future?

There is a golden rule for team growth that is best represented by P=C3. Is your team clear on its purpose? Do you and your team agree on where the team is at? The answer to these questions will become your team’s guiding light for real conversations that will go far beyond ‘What is our function?’

The 3Cs

Phenomenal teams are purpose-driven. All their actions, strategies, plans, behaviours and conversations serve to drive, amplify, grow or accelerate their purpose. The team’s purpose reflects its team members’ idealistic motivations for doing their work. The team’s purpose articulates the unique gift it brings to the organisation. In phenomenal teams, the purpose is often at the core of why team members are prepared to give that discretionary effort.

The delivery on this purpose is the multiplier of three elements—the 3Cs of team growth. These are commitment, credibility and conversations (real ones).

I must stress that these are multipliers. If your team can get all three working effusively, you will see exponential growth. On the other hand, should one element remain at zero, your team will slow down.

Maximise purpose through commitment 

Your team must agree upon a set of behaviours for which all members commit to upholding in order to maximise the team’s purpose. What behaviours will be rewarded, recognised and valued? These behaviours should be at the heart of real team conversations. By definition, these behaviours represent the values of your team.

Words on a wall are simply a list of nouns. Actual behaviour defines the team’s values and, therefore, the team’s culture. An individual’s level of commitment to team behaviour will help you identify their level of commitment to the team.

Elevate delivery through credibility

Credibility relates to the delivery and performance aspects of your team. It also ensures your team is aligned, has influence and is balanced in terms of skill set and diversity of thinking. Some key considerations include:

  • Does each team member know the agreed behaviours?
  • Do praise, development, corrective actions and conversations relate to the agreed behaviours?
  • Does the team have the right specialist skills and experience?
  • Are team members skilled at understanding the needs of others (internally and externally) as well as their differences and styles?

While these key elements represent the art of building credibility in your team, the science relates to traditional elements of clarity, accountability and delivery. Consider the following:

  • Are ownerships and accountabilities clear?
  • Do team members leave meetings with clear action plans?
  • Do you measure what matters?
  • Does the team capture feedback and report on KPIs (visible and used) to start real conversations?

Accelerate performance through conversations

The work your team puts into building commitment and credibility comes to life during real conversations. Make no mistake though, the positive impact of these conversations is determined by the levels of trust within the team. If you attempt real conversations without first building high levels of trust, you run the risk of creating an environment of fear.

Real conversations are twofold. You must ask questions that seek to provide understanding and progress to developing solutions rather than dictating what needs to change. Phenomenal teams meet regularly to engage in real conversations that include debate, conflict and agreement on the real issues that impact performance. In phenomenal teams, what you need to talk about takes precedence over what you are happy to talk about.

The delivery on purpose is a mirror for the team to identify any mishaps in performance. A mishap in performance reflects directly as a mishap in the delivery on purpose. As a consequence, this type of focus gives the team little opportunity to drift into blame-complain-defend mode—a trait typical of fake teams.

When teams are driven by this rule and when they are acting on the 3Cs, they become fast teams. They become flexible, accountable, aspirational and strategic. They become trusted teams.

Written by Garie Dooley.

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