Seamless teams manifest when the client, software vendor, and services partner are all on the same page. Most people would agree that when teams are unified, the probability of success is heightened. So, why is unification so elusive and the exception to the rule? Why is it that people have a difficult time coming together for a greater cause? From what I have experienced, it typically comes down to leadership and effective communication. There can be innumerable reasons why, but for simplicity sake, we’ll focus on the core culprits.
Stephen Covey, the author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” defines relationships and team dynamics as like an emotional bank account. When our bank account has more deposits than withdrawals with people, we illicit their trust. I see project leadership and effective communication as two sides of the same depository coin.
This is not a one-time event where you swoop in and set initial expectations and then expect a team to naturally do what needs to be done. Of course, some team members need very little guidance, but why leave anything to chance?
Project leaders need to have clear objectives and then administer those objectives by setting consistent expectations. I also suggest setting your objectives high enough to stretch the individuals on your team. This will allow members to grow their skills, and grow as people. This growth will lead to job stimulation, job satisfaction, and team commitment. Team members need to feel their leaders trust they have what it takes to become more. People with the highest level of job satisfaction are the ones who feel they have the most autonomous control over their plight.
Therefore, leaders need to be engaged, but not overly. They need to ask succinct questions of team members, but then empower them to do their jobs. Utilize the Ronald Reagan standby to “Trust but verify,” and leave no room for finger pointing. Remember, to have a seamless team, leaders need to hold themselves and all team members to a higher standard of accountability. They need to avoid having sacred cows and place responsibility where it is due. I’ve seen many leaders who coddles their employees while the vendors can do no right, and vice versa.
Successful project teams are symbiotic, cohesive, and collaborative. It’s an all for one - one for all mentality. A oneness where you have everyone towing in the same direction, all while ramping up the sense of urgency, because now you have a team that is firing on all cylinders. This tightly organized team and the urgency piece needs to happen succinctly and immediately. We’ve witnessed, and come in behind many consulting groups that had squandered all sorts invaluable time upfront, and to what effect? Tasks begin compressing, timelines are missed, deliverables are missed, and in the end, the client ends up with a shell of what they could have had or expected. The sooner leaders communicate the importance of having a viable strategy, a detailed project plan, team urgency, and accountability, the better.