insights & research

How Do You Create a Hot Team?

hotteamsA "hot team" is much more than a sports team on a winning streak. Teams that are hot produce tangible results time and time again. They exceed expectations. Characteristics of hot teams include empathy, trust, gaining acceptance for ideas, and reaching consensus among team members. Digging deeper and learning more about individual problem solving styles can go a long way towards building these critical characteristics. On the flip side, we know from our research that opposing problem solving styles can cause friction among team members. Does this mean that team members with opposite styles don't get along and work well together? Shouldn't that impede team performance? In fact, heterogeneous teams (teams with a mix of problem solving styles) often report that working together is often not as much ‘fun' as working with colleagues whose styles are similar to their own , but the innovation and productivity that results from such groups is definitely greater.

Organizations need to start looking beyond hiring the “best” individuals and concentrate more on hiring people who will naturally become part of a complete team. In our work, we see implementers continuing to dominate inside companies . Perhaps this is due to the quarterly performance measures inherent in public companies. Regardless of the market pressures, companies can't lose focus on the generator and conceptualizer quadrants and start ensuring their people are aware of how important this thinking is or begin to look at hiring new people who prefer to think in this way.

If anything, the great recession has taught us that we need to start doing things more creatively and innovatively to survive. Unfortunately, it may be too late for some organizations and individuals to come to this realization. Those organizations who encourage high performance teams to form and work together will lead the way out of this recession. Our research is only beginning in this area, but we're confident our clients now see how important critical thinking styles affect bottom line performance. Increasingly, clients are using the Basadur Profile as a tool they provide to potential new hires – not as a deciding factor, but more to gauge what kind of thinker they are. Most of the companies have identified what kind of thinkers they are looking for ahead of time. Others use the Profile to show team members how their styles relate to others and why maybe they are having troubles.

We frequently look at a team or organization's group scatter diagram in advance and guess at some of the troubles they might be facing – before we even meet them! What's more amazing is how some teams are organized to achieve certain tasks. For example, we've seen teams mandated with new product development who don't have a single generator in the mix. Most often, however, it's an imbalance of styles that exists with the dominant style dictating the outcomes. Those teams with similar styles will find it easy to work together but often fall short in performance.

If you are keen to put together a hot team, perhaps you might want to survey the landscape of your organization thinking styles before putting some of the pieces together. We'd recommend you do this before any strategic planning so you get the right mix of people together to kick-start this part of the process. Working together might not be as much fun as before, but we guarantee that failing is even less fun. Oh yeah, what's the definition of insanity: “…Doing something the same way over and over again and expecting different results”? A hot team will never fall into this trap.

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