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Build a better team with these five elements

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We take teamwork for granted. Everyone knows there is something valuable about teamwork, yet too often we don’t know how to effectively get what we want through teaming with others.

Here, then, is the question: What is the essence of a powerful team?

Effective teams are cohesive. Members work well together, and the job just seems to get done. The key element that forms the essence of a powerful team is its chemistry.

Most sports organizations the world over work diligently to come up with the magic of “chemistry” for their team. It is clear when this chemistry is present, as well as when it is not. But just how do you generate chemistry within a team? What are the elements of great chemistry?

I’d like to suggest that there are five main elements leading to great chemistry. If these are present, you have a winning formula. If they’re not, then your team will not tap into its full power.

The key elements of great chemistry are shared values, complementary strengths, common goals, mutual respect and personal discernment.

1. Shared values
Values are listed first, and are by far the most important, but too often overlooked. If your values are not aligned, there will be fighting and issues between and among the various members of the team. This is a virtual certainty. With common (or shared) values, the rest of the items on the list become very important. However, without shared values, none of the rest matters. Truly great sports coaches listen for shared values first. Then they choose the skills.

2. Complementary strengths
Once shared values have been established, then (and only then) do the skills of the various team members matter. We don’t need people who are good at the same thing. We want people who each bring something unique to the table. This is the easiest element to assembling a powerful team.Yet this, too, becomes the source of anxiety and mistakes in team formulation. If I am on a team, I will naturally resonate with other people who are just like me. They will often have the same or similar skills as I do. Better to get the complementary skills rather than just go with a “good gut feel.” The way to avoid this is to write out the skills of each role, and the specific skills of each person who potentially will be on the team, and see how the constellation evolves.

In other words, yes, there is such a thing as natural chemistry – but you still have to work on it.

3. Common goals
If you have people who want different things, your team may end up with problems it didn’t expect. Check in on this. People may want the same thing for different reasons, but do make sure they want the same thing.

4. Mutual respect
This is also necessary for tapping into the power of teams. With mutual respect, teams can go far. Without it, they will suffer and likely not reach their objectives.

5. Personal discernment
Personal discernment is your judgement or gut feeling. There are three dimensions to this aspect of teamwork: your business experience, your experience and your intuition. The stronger a person’s business experience, the better their judgement. The more they have encountered personally in life, the same thing – better judgement. Access to intuition is someone’s trust in their own “gut.” How often have we each not trusted our gut, only to learn that we would have been right if we’d relied on it?

There is a very high correlation between self-care and personal discernment. When we are fatigued, our trust in ourselves is the first thing to go out the window. When we are well-rested, we trust our gut and our confidence is high. And high confidence generates stronger results.

By ensuring you have these five essential elements in place, you will build and tap into the chemistry and power of much stronger teams.

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