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The Teamwork Trifecta

In my work with executive and senior teams, CEO’s and top executives continuously share that attracting and retaining winning team members is one of the most significant leadership challenges of our time. Undoubtedly, nation-wide hiring difficulties have expanded this challenge.

Consequently, it’s become even more essential for leadership teams to have clarity about who they are and who they’re onboarding. True alignment with an organization’s mission and values is part of the solution to solving the engagement issue that has morphed into serious retention issues for so many teams.

However, missional alignment is just one part of the equation. The teams we work with experience significant success by also implementing intentional practices in three key areas. We call these this process the “teamwork trifecta.”

Teamwork Trifecta Practice #1: Get the Right People on your Bus

Based upon character alignment with your organizational values, the first step toward true team alignment is to get the right people onto your team. A job candidate can believe in the mission but not possess the virtues needed to uphold it. When leadership teams identify key traits required of all employees, guess work confusion are minimized.

As you prepare to search for the right people to hire, I encourage you to study Patrick Lencioni’s “Ideal Team Player” model highlighting the virtues of humility, hunger and smarts. By specifically looking for these three characteristics in potential team members, our client teams introduce less bulldozing, mess-making, slacking and politicking into their team culture.

Teamwork Trifecta Practice #2: Shift Those People into the Right Seats on Your Bus

For a team member, the opportunity to consistently do work in their areas of giftedness is fulfilling, highly engaging and is the opportunity to add the most value for the team. This isn’t about titles, positions or competencies. It’s about how people make their greatest contributions within these three stages of work: ideation, activation and implementation.

I encourage using “The Six Types of Working Genius” tool to better tap the talents of team members, ensure the right people are in the right conversations and that meetings are geared toward specific stages of work rather than just checking off items on agendas.

Teamwork Trifecta Practice #3: Move the Bus Forward

The success of a team is determined by its ability to reach objectives and goals. I use the “5 Dysfunctions of Teams” assessment to help teams internalize behaviors which lead to cohesion: trust, healthy conflict, commitment, accountability and results. Having a healthy and unified leadership team is the first discipline of becoming organizationally healthy and naturally leads to higher levels of clarity from the top. This prevents silos, politics and low morale.

While there are many factors within the process of hiring and retention that you are out of your control, it’s time to embrace the things you can as the leader. You’re in charge of the kind of culture you’re creating, as well as who helps you build that culture. Embracing the teamwork trifecta model will help you play offense instead of defense, therefore attracting and retaining the winning team members you’ve sought to find.


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