Intelligence: How to Grow Yours

by

Having worked with hundreds of teams of all shapes and sizes and having been in many teams of all sorts too (good and not so), I have grown a passion for supporting high performance teamwork. It has become a specialty.

First I must declare a bias. I LOVE TEAMWORK! There I have said it. For me there is nothing like being part of an aligned team fulfilling it’s purpose and potential in service to something bigger than itself.

It used to often take people years to learn to trust and get beyond the petty ego struggles that arise in everyday working environments, but these days it’s different – or it can be if you are up with the play! These days we need to form and perform - fast - as teams come under more and more pressure to produce results, break up and re-group for a new purpose. Those results are always a reflection of Team Intelligence. Team Intelligence is the result of combining all the talents, skills, attributes, IQ, EQ, and quality of relationships within a group. So many teams miss out on so much when ‘TI’ is low, personalities clash and conflict is the dominant flavor. Any willing team can grow TI…I have seen miracles happen over and over again and it all starts with a belief and willingness to find a way forward. It is often said these days ‘The future belongs to the learners’ so make learning a priority regarding your own team.

By paying attention to the growth of ‘TI’ you will accelerate the personal and group learning in your team settings and you will also be more in the flow and on target with your own team purpose. Your team will be a pleasure to be part of and the quality of your daily work life will be enhanced. You will fulfill more of your potential as a team and express your own individuality along the way (THAT is fun!)There are plenty of things you can ‘do’ to enhance Team Intelligence. Here are three heavy hitters to explore. Note: They will take time – one of the best investments you can make in your team.

“TI” - GROWTH TIP ONE
DEFINE YOUR PURPOSE – Identify and align on the highest ‘Why?’ your team can conceive of. What is your highest purpose beyond the products you sell or services you provide? Consider for what purpose are you together. There are layers to ‘why?’, both personal and team so the more aligned you all are, the more creative juices will flow and the more productive and effective you will be. Think of the idea of paddling in the same direction, together. A sense of meaningful purpose galvanizes efforts and gets us through the tough times. Extend yourself beyond even your own lifetime to see what higher purpose might best be served by your team efforts. Latch on to that higher purpose and it will carry you forward. Beware of shortsightedness as it can cause mess that will only need to be addressed later. Defining your highest purpose cultivates the wisdom needed to fulfill it. Eg: Someone who nurtures children for a living could say “My purpose is to look after (or educate) children” – a higher purpose for that work could be “I shape Human destiny” (which all carers of children do by the way).

“TI” GROWTH TIP TWO 
LEARN RELATIONSHIP NAVIGATION SKILLS – Treat each other like topics you must all study so you understand how the team itself ticks. That way you can play to your strengths and learn into your “stretches”. When every player grows their EQ, the whole team benefits. There are many ways to learn if you all decide you are all worth studying! You can make this easy and fun by creating a questionnaire, sharing a meal with some structured topics to chat about (eg: How shall we deal with conflict? Stress and pressure?). If you want (lots) more ideas or a facilitator to work with you, contact us and we can help. The intent is always to foster flowing and effective communication through increased understanding of each other’s styles and needs – always in the context of the higher purpose. Genuine interest is key to this tip. Quality of the bonds between team members also directly impacts team resilience when turbulence comes calling (which from time to time it will). “The wind and the waves always favor the most able navigators” Edward Gibbon

“TI” GROWTH TIP THREE
IDENTIFY SHARED VALUES regarding the way the team wants to operate. This is an extension of Tip Two. There are many ways you can do this. The intent is always the same – to identify what is important enough (to everyone) that you will ‘pay’ attention to and use your team values to guide the way you fulfill your team purpose. Settle on 1-5 ideas and let them be your ‘vital signs’ for staying on track. You can co-create your own team values even if your whole organisation ones are different – as long as they align all will be well. You don’t need to invent your team values; you must discover them. Once identified, set up ways to ‘take the temperature’ or check your ‘vital signs’ via surveys or open discussions to keep you on track with walking your team talk.

PAY ATTENTION
When individuals join together for any reason, and they ‘pay’ even a little attention to growing Team Intelligence, their enterprise will flourish as a side effect. Team Intelligence is a field in which the team operates. Tend to the field and the harvests will be great.

TEAM INTELLIGENCE grows exponentially when a team is highly aware of itself, its strengths, its purpose, what it believes about itself and when it is aligned on the way it wants to function. Team Intelligence grows when the individuals within the group commit themselves to learning what more the team can be in ways that arepersonally meaningful.

 

Amanda Fleming
www.amandafleming.co.nz


About

Amanda Fleming is Director of Presenter At Large Ltd, an organisation dedicated to presenting highly stimulating and effective learning events that produce lasting positive results.

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