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The image above is just not possible to create with one individual. Great accomplishments in business, science and government are the same. Sure, we know this already, but why do will still struggle with generating great team performance?

Team work is a major constant in business, but it still remains very elusive for most managers, leaders and corporations. All are in favor of simplicity (like the image), but how is simplicity defined for highly productive teams? How do companies get there? How do companies produce highly effective teams - simply?

The real issue resides within individuals. By definition the team is a composite of individuals and a label of "team" does not magically reset the memory and history of each individual.

Now comes some more complexity - the leader of the team is another magical person that just gets it and is supposed to figure this all out and then say and do a few things for the rest of the mortals to "see it" - now the team is one.

Right - more falsehood enters the solution space.

The simplicity lands on passion. Individual's that are passionate clear the way for others. Before we can see the simplicity and comprehend why this works we need to go back to the individual. Why is an individual a part of the team? What motivates this person? What about this person resonates with the purpose of the team? Passionate individuals on a team are hard to miss.

If one is seeking to find leaders, then start with the attitude of individuals.

Leaders are not magicians either. There is another falsehood about charismatic leaders and be carful if your company believes too strongly in the "Steve Jobs Fallacy". That is, all we need to succeed as a company is a once in a life time leader or three at the top and we are set. If your company has too many managers that believe in the Steve Jobs fallacy, then that is signal that these mid-tier leaders must look within in order to motivate their teams. The company could just have too many leaders looking for the real leader and no one can find one almost by definition. If one is seeking to find leaders, then start with the attitude of individuals. I know it seems counter-intuitive.

If your company has too many managers that believe in the Steve Jobs fallacy, then that is signal that these mid-tier leaders must look within in order to motivate their teams.

Therefore, teams could need to be re-defined or at least we must define teams via a slightly modified lens. Teams are the composite of individual output and contributions.

Observe the image one more time. There is your simplicity. That's the genius of the team. Who is the leader in the image? Do you care? Do you need to know in order to see the power of the simplicity? How much time did it take for the team to agree on the overall goal? How did they figure out that a simple hand gesture could combine to make for something bigger and more meaningful? How and when did they agreed to combine output to make a larger output?

Something had to trigger in the mind of each individual for the team to pull it all together.

Teams are composed of individuals, so let's start there.

What are the motivations of each team member?
Do all individuals agree on the same success definition?
What would the individuals do if the team achieves the goal? Does the team know what to do next, if the goal is achieved? Which individual would know? Are the rest waiting to be told or are all the individuals co-creating the shared vision as a single unit?

Teams are complex - business is complex - winning is complex (beating others seeking to stop or outcompete your firm is very complex)

Simplicity is achieved by having enough courage to revisit the basics - who is on your team? What is driving the individuals on your team?
Does the team even talk or plan for success? Is a solid success definition explored by individuals or is all of that given to the team by the team leader?

The image is just one of those things - it take a few seconds to make the point. What is the equivalent for your team and your company?

About Author

Nick Maravich

Nick Maravich

I am software enthusiast and I have worked in Start-Ups and in large organizations. I am currently an Enterprise Agile Coach with a Healthcare Organization.