Completion of individual training is followed by team training. As individual training buys one eligibility, team training becomes an investment in effectiveness. It has been repeatedly shown that most companies, organizations or teams fail more frequently because of the lack of unit interdependence when individual skills are present than the reverse.
Even in units requiring highly individual actions (e.g., a scientist in a research lab), the quantity and quality of resource sharing becomes a crucial factor in determining the overall results achieved.
Team training, done well, enables members not only to learn about each other as resources, but also to learn how to access each other for the good of each and the whole.
Issues such as leadership, interpersonal communication, conflict resolution and change management are critical to team effectiveness and can be made a part of unit training in any number of ways: by requiring the unit to go through Outward Bound, or some similar activity; having the team briefed by senior-level people in the organization on a regular basis; encouraging the entire unit to train for and enter a marathon race; or by frequent social activities as a unit.
Assignments are characterized as very challenging, high risk, highly valuable or top secret.
Assignments are communicated with precision and with appropriate performance standards.
High performance is maintained by the importance of the task and by the difficulty of completion. The type of person drawn to such a unit must be a moderate to high-risk taker and one with the desire to surpass previous records. If assignments are very difficult, only the best will succeed.
A top-secret task without corresponding challenge would have only temporary appeal. Critical to maintain¬ing high performance is enabling the team member to feel the importance of a task being completed.
In order for the team to experience the challenge of a difficult task, members must know the exact task requirements. Unless there are standards of performance coupled with a clearly defined mission, definition of excellence becomes ambiguous.
As a result, assignments should be under the direction of a high-level person in the organization; board members and selected major customers could be invited to sit in on team briefings; and team members could be sent on brief, difficult consulting missions to important customers at a price to the customer.
By Chip Bell. Training Magazine.