Want a Cohesive Team? Focus on Individuals

eyeWe all want cohesive teams, and to get them, I hear a lot about shared vision. The leader is responsible for providing a clear vision for the team, and once everyone is on board with this singular vision, the team performance starts to flow. It’s awesome. We’re all on the same team, we’re all rowing in the same direction, we’re all on the same page, [add metaphor of your choice here].

But there’s something missing here: the unique individual. Contrary to popular belief, there are plenty of “I”s in team. Every team–every organization–is a collection of unique individuals, and the performance of the team requires each of those individuals to be performing at there best. A shared vision helps, but our obsession with visions has left us ignoring something equally important: authenticity.

People will work harder when they are able to be their whole selves. They’ll be more effective when the work they are doing connects to their own personal growth and development. People are at their best when they are fulfilling their destinies.

So shared vision isn’t enough. You need to find a way for each unique individual to connect to that shared vision in a way that makes sense to them. Well, you don’t need to. You can continue with the status quo. You know, the one where 70% of employees are disengaged at work and not giving their full effort.

It’s hard work weaving unique destinies with shared visions. But the payoff, in the form of previously untapped energy and effort, is significant.

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  1. 24.09.2013 at 10:58 pm

    That was an interesting post Jamie. Disappointingly, bringing out the best in people is a sometimes forgotten part of the equation. At it’s worst, that can result in low retention rates and dysfunctional “teams”. Revolving doors typically mean less stability and a less resilient organization. Not exactly a recipe for success. Continually cultivating employee needs within the scope of the mission/vision is not an easy task. But then again, good things don’t come easy. Thanks for the real world reminder.