Throughout my military, academic, and professional career, I have been a part or some great teams, some mediocre teams, and some terrible teams. I have worked with different personnel from all walks of life, have worked in small teams, big teams, and what I can say no matter how much I disliked somebody, the job was still easier with teammates. Now, that doesn’t mean that we always hit our goals with flying colors, and it also proves you don’t have to like your teammates to be productive. Their is a level of respect and professionalism that is required to succeed in any environment. Without some maturity and perspective, things can fall apart quickly. This is why today I want to focus on the Components of Teamwork that are essential to a high performance team.
So what are the Components of Teamwork?
A team is a group of individuals that work together towards a common goal. When people work together and collaborate towards a goal, their is simply more power in numbers.
While serving as an Aviation Maintenance Administrator, many functions existed within our department to ensure our aircraft were safe for flight. We worked in conjunction with other departments to accomplish our objectives, there is no other way. Without all the different departments working as one, it would be impossible to get an F-18 in the air.
Whether we were removing an engine, replacing an ejection seat, or updating a component, we had multiple teams, trained Marines, at different levels to execute these functions.
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This insured an aircraft was safe for flight protecting the pilot as they executed the mission.
It takes many manhours to keep an aircraft in the air. For one hour of flight, sometimes it takes 2 hours of maintenance. Regardless, our aircraft soul purpose is to provide surveillance, take out targets, and more importantly protect the troops on the ground. Marines on the ground are vulnerable to enemy attack, so it is up to our maintenance team to work tirelessly to ensure we keep them safe by pushing the limits of our jets to complete the mission.
This is only possible with the right leadership and the right personnel to carryout our objectives. It takes many small teams that ultimately make up an F-18 fighter squadron and to operate efficiently. Of course, this is one example of a high operating squadron with many small high performing teams working in sync. Let’s move forward and highlight some key components to a high performing team.
Leadership: It starts at the top
It all begins as an idea, a vision, then comes the mission, strategy, etc. However, an idea usually starts with a small group of people. It is imperative that their is clear leadership at every level of an organization. In a corporation, usually there are levels of leadership. You have your chief executive officer, chief financial officer, and many other executives who navigate and steer the company as they progress. Then you have mid level managers who execute the vision and mission of the company and of course the lower level leaders who make everything happen. Overall, it is up to the leadership to ensure all processes and protocols are implemented correctly and enforced.
Talent and recruitment
In every profession lies talented individuals with sometimes unlimited potential. Depending on your teams needs, recruiting the right people is a key function of any high performing group. For example, to be a part of a Marine squadron, there are prerequisites that must be met. A candidate must be within a certain age group, be physically fit, and of course pass the asvab test at a certain rate to be considered.
Once you have a clear vision and mission and your strategy is well put together you can identify the needs of your team.
Here at Black Sheep Heritage we look for individuals who are highly motivated, humble, compassionate, empathetic, and have a passion for helping others. Our goal is to assist people to step out of their comfort zone but before we can do that we have to set the example. We have to be able to put ourselves in other peoples perspective. It allows us to understand different walks of life and gives us value.
Be open minded in your recruitment process in regards to your teams goals.
Experience doesn’t always mean excellence. Sometimes, that person with less experience can have more potential, motivation, and a higher ceiling in the long term.
Others may have experience in a different field. Sometimes your team may need some outside perspective to help make the team better. Experience in one field can definitely transfer over to another. Don’t be afraid to add someone with less or different experience to your team, it doesn’t hurt to hear new ideas.
It all starts at the top
Once you have a clear strategy and every person comprehends their roles, the leader must now ensure expectations are set. This is why sustaining a high performance culture is key.
High Performance Culture
In the Marines, we have a culture of caring for one another and holding ourselves accountable. Culture is an important component to the Marine Corps as our recruit training shapes young men and women into Marines. Here, recruits begin to learn the importance of teamwork, and watching each others six. A quick example is firewatch, where recruits get randomly assigned duty for 2 hours in the middle of the night. There is always someone on watch sacrificing a little bit of sleep for the betterment of the platoon. Setting standards high from the get is a key reason why Marines are regarded as the toughest branch with a high performance culture. You do whatever it takes to accomplish the mission, this is instilled very early.
In your environment, no matter the objective, setting standards high from the get will be a key ingredient.
This means clear concise expectations. It is up to the leaders to instill and spread a culture of excellence. The more contagious the culture, the more your team will succeed and care for each other. Also don’t forget to encourage relationship building.
Relationship building among team members is a vital component to a strong team.
Avoid Group Think
You ever been part of a group where you want to give your opinion but conform to the group because you don’t want to offend someone or the team? This is an example of group think. Group think is when individuals put aside their personal beliefs, opinions, to concede to the groups popular opinion.
Encourage constructive criticism, creativity, innovation, and more importantly a place where all ideas are welcomed for the betterment of the team. This can help a team avoid group think.
Ensure your strategy has a solid communication component. Many times, especially in a corporate environment, key information doesn’t resonate smoothly through the various departments causing confusion and a reduction in performance affecting the customer negatively. Whether you work in a corporate or small business environment, every teammember must understand the goals and objectives and the strategies to get there.
Recruitment (focus on individuals that can adapt) don’t fall for bullshitters
Bullshitter as I like to call them are prevalent everywhere, these are the type of people who can answer a great recruitment question of: sell me this pen! Be afraid of some people who can answer a question with flying colors time after time,
Moral can be a booster or a drainer depending on the moral health of the team. Finding a right balance for your team and keeping each other spirits high is a sign of a well functioning team.
A winning culture needs a strategy and clear definition of your teams values. Creating a values system and having it influence your culture will define your team and increase the Components of Teamwork. Till next time!-Phan