The 18 Failures of Great Teams

What you shouldn't do if you want the most out of your team

18 Failures of Great Teams
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It would be easy to assume that team-building should be the same whether at a supervisory level, managerial level or at a leadership team level. This however is not the case. Executive Teams tend to be older, wiser, highly intelligent, more confident, but often less fit, more easily bored, more challenging, critical, with much greater levels of expectation. Such teams require facilitators with much higher levels of experience, matching or even higher levels of confidence, broader exposure and a sure-footedness that has to be powerful yet possess great humility at the same time.

There are specifics to watch out for that may slow down your Executive Team and your facilitator should be able to detect these beforehand either through observation, interviews, or focus groups discussions.

The following 18 Failure Factors will slow your leadership team down, lower their energy, resulting in lowered effectiveness and eventually impacting results.

  1. Misalignment – When team members push into differing directions much momentum is lost immediately and much time is spent arguing over the direction to take. In our experience we have seen energy differential of as much as 90 Percent. Given these tremendous losses in energy and momentum one may wonder out loud why there are teams and organizations that don’t take the time to align. Time itself is often the reason or the excuse. When you realize however how much time is lost in discussing the differences the actual time spent aligning is more than worth it.
  2. Distrust – It is amazing how little trust there often is amongst leadership team members. Often this is caused by seeing each other from what Harvard would call a mechanistic perspective perceiving each other as a wheel or part of a machine with the same level of expectation as that of a machine. We tend to see machines as having predictable outcomes. This hardly ever will be the case on leadership teams as leadership teams tend to venture out into the unknowns, may that be a new level of performance or an entirely new market or a new product.
  3. The Past – Many times teams are slowed down by something that happened in the past. That may be a prior disagreement, argument or misalignment. These feelings can carry forward into the future and can be quite disabling to even the most outstanding individuals.
  4. Low Spirit – The spirit of the team can be extremely impactful on the performance of the team. That level of performance will have an immediate impact on overall results and whether we want it, like it, or prefer it that way.
  5. Just doing the job – Most often found in uninspired and mechanistic machines as well as in command and control leadership scenarios – just doing the job means leaving the brain at the door if not the breakfast table. In short, no brains no gains. Ever heard of the phrase ‘Just do your job’?
  6. Our culture is better than yours – many multinational teams are afflicted by this and only few consultants often know how to address this. This can cause a rift among the different nationalities on the team as no one wants to have the wrong culture and everyone wants to be having the ‘right’ culture. This can also occur when you are in transition from an ‘old’ culture to a ‘new’ culture or from a traditional even hierarchical culture to a more modern way of relating and working together
  7. No trust – Without Courage there is no Authenticity and without Authenticity there is no Trust. Without trust there is no teamwork. Without teamwork there is no team. Without team there are only silos. With silos it’s everyone for themselves.
  8. Low confidence – THE role of an Executive Team is to lead where no one has gone before and have others follow. No one is going to follow a low confidence leader much less a low confidence leadership team.
  9. No, or limited, Authenticity – Authenticity is when what we say and what we mean are the same. Without authenticity the lips might be moving, words might be spoken but NOTHING is being said. It’s a complete waste of time. Imagine an entire team pretending to communicate. The only place that team is going fast is NOWEHERE.
  10. Overdrawn Emotional Bank Account – Let’s face it, Mistakes will be made. It’s how your team handles it is what matters. There is the immature way to handle it to counter and to attack. There is the ‘hurt’ way to handle it when we can’t forgive. The is the mature way t handle it which is to be authentic, to be real about what worked and what didn’t work, learn from it, look at what could have been done differently, move on, right what was wrong and succeed. No other way to do it.
  11. Low or No Courage – Granted it takes courage to be authentic. So courage and authenticity are emotional KPIs that allow us to predict where a team is going and how fast, if at all.
  12. Lack of Integrity – Integrity is likely more than what you think it is. It doesn’t just mean that there are no lies. Integrity means we keep our word and when we give our word it is like Gold. There is Integrity with time, with our promises, with our results and with the way we do things. Integrity means we operate at the highest level anyone could expect us to operate.
  13. High Fear – High fear leads to low courage or no courage and no confidence, no confidence means no leadership. When I can’t lead myself others won’t follow. ‘Nough said.
  14. Followers not Leaders – Followers may boost your ego but leaders will boost your results. Imagine a team of leaders not just a team of followers. Yes it’s harder to lead leaders no doubt but the rewards are tremendous. The truth is not everyone is cut out to lead leaders.
  15. Operating in Silos – It’s a great tragedy when you have department competing with each other rather than the competition. Guess who pay the price?!?!?!
  16. Underutilized and potential that remains repressed – Your facilitator needs to know how to un-limit the team’s potential. Sadly there are only few that do. Most people we interview report that on average that only 80Percent of their potential is being utilized by the company. Given that most people want to stay only four more years that’s a grand total of 5Percent per year. Wow is that really worth celebrating? Unleash it!
  17. Command & Control Leadership – Command & Control leads to limited engagement, limited involvement, blindly following instructions, low creativity, and slow growth. Most often still found in family run operations. This won’t attract any great talent as the leader always gets all the credit.
  18. Lack of Purpose – Many leaders, consultants, and facilitators are confused between purpose and mission. By definition a mission is merely a description of what you do. Whoop-dee-doo how inspiring. NOT. Yawn. Develop a purpose instead. Develop something that inspires the heart. Something that gets each and every one of your team members out of bed in the morning. The choice is always to get up and going or to press the snooze button. When you snooze you lose.

Go for it now. Unleash your team. Kiss low growth and low performance good bye. Say hello to Paradigm shifts, breakthroughs and miracles.

Learn more about Bjorn by visiting his website here.


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Bjorn is an award winning Global Coach and the Author of the bestselling book 'Develop Exponential Power " and the forthcoming book 'Develop Exponential Growth'. A top Global CEO Coach and thought leader based in Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Bjorn is operating throughout Asia & the Americas. He focuses on consistently pushing the envelope of what it is to be a leader in our current up-and-down times that continuously demand more with less. He is accelerating business results where it counts most for his clients, Bjorn has proven that as human beings we have infinite potential. He discovered ways of unleashing unlimited potential in his work with his clients. He was referred to as Number One Global Executive Coach on the Global News Network - GNN.

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