The Recipe of Teams

So, my wife bakes. She bakes a lot and it’s great. Using recipes, she has mastered knowing what to put into the mix and what the outcome should be. If she’s short an ingredient, she’ll make it up somewhere else and then off-set that as required. But the outcome is always the same: great!

Now think of teams as the ingredients  and the effectiveness of these teams as the end result. We put teams together with the right selection of individual characteristics to make sure the outcome is great, right? Well, no, we don’t…and you see, this is the problem.

A lot of us have heard about those personality inventory type sessions (Insights Discovery, Myers Briggs, SDI etc). You’ve probably done it, and if you haven’t, I highly recommend it. Not just for you, but for your team, and here’s why. We are all different. We all have different motivators and different ways of dealing with problems and situations. Put too many of the same into one team and the outcome might be less than great. But the right balance of the right types to make the mix you want, and the end result will have a far better chance of success. It’s as simple as that.

But we don’t practice it. In fact, it’s hard to find any examples of where it is commonly practiced. Yes, many spend thousands on  organisational effectiveness, but the results are often not shared and only tell us individually what type of person we are. My results are useful to me, but the results of those I work with are invaluable to me. I want to know what motivates my co-workers, how my direct reports assess situations, and whether I need to provide detailed briefs or just higher-level analysis to my boss. Good leaders will eventually figure this out, but modern day organisations often don’t have the luxury of time to allow for this forming stage.

So this is what my organisation would do: we’d all periodically do a personality inventory and the results would be transparent, shared amongst everyone. They would be used when creating teams and organisational structures. They would form part of our professional passport. And we would embrace the process and results, because I’d only hire those who are secure enough to be vulnerable. But that’s another topic that deserves a blog of its own!

So, what do you think about the practicalities of this?

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