”Imagine you received tickets to a concert at the Athenaeum, it’s Saturday night, there’s no pandemic. Dress nicely, take your partner and go there, sit down and wait for the concert to start.

The orchestra appears but they don’t come all at once; it takes about 20 minutes, as some are still late. The conductor also appears, finally. People applaud from the beginning (this is how it is at the concert, the orchestra leader receives applause before doing something), then there is silence, everyone is waiting to be delighted.

From time to time, however, there are noises of untuned instruments, deviations from the rhythm, someone from the orchestra wants to get outside, another one whispers something to his stage mate. The conductor gets angry, goes after the one who wants to leave, lectures him, while the others sing, each in their own way.

It is the image of an orchestra, of a non-performing team. In fact, it is not a team, it is a group of individuals who came to work in order to have a place from where to leave.

Sounds familiar?

What is a team? There are many definitions; I will propose an approach.

A team is a group of people who do what is best for each and everyone and the group at the same time. For a group of people to be a team, they need to have answers to at least 4 essential questions:

  • Where are we going?
  • Why, what is our purpose, mission, reason to exist as a team?
  • What are the potential barriers and how do we manage them?
  • What is the plan, what are the steps to get there?

Beyond that, I would say that it is essential for the team to have a leader. These should provide at least three things:

  1. direction – where the team is going
  2. protection – so that people feel safe
  3. order – clarity, rules, set boundaries

In a simple Google search, the word Team has 8,070,000,000 entries; teamwork has 125,000,000; on Amazon.com there are over 70,000 books with this word in the title.

Concern for the subject is great and yet, so hard to build a high-performing team.

Let’s think of examples of high-performance teams:

FC Barcelona;

Real Madrid;

Bayern Munich;

Liverpool;

Paris Saint-Germain.

What did these teams have in common? Very good people; very good coaches; they prepared enormously, always more than the others; common goals: to be the best!

When Metallica came to Bucharest, on the National Arena, the band members behaved like a team. Each member of the band was responsible for their own score, sang as best they could (I would say even more than that) and contributed to an unforgettable concert with the lead singer.

What are the ingredients of a high-performance team in business:

  • The right person in the right place, that is, the way we choose people, according to the company’s standards and values, it’s crucial
  • Clear direction, well-defined objectives
  • Communication – this word is so used and yet, there are so few situations in which we communicate well!
  • Focus on results
  • Ego placed second, in favor of the common interest
  • Individual responsibility
  • Dedication to the purpose of the team
  • Trust in the leader and in colleagues
  • Confidence in the team leader
  • The way confrontations are approached, the way conflicts are managed openly, keeping in mind the purpose of the group
  • The leader, the way he leads the team, adapts his style according to the context
  • Discipline – without which a team is not performing. The noise at the Athenaeum comes from lack of involvement, lack of assumption, lack of discipline.
  • To care about the one next to you and the team as a whole
  • Behave respectfully towards others. To show aggression, to always be silent and not to get involved, shows unsophistication, non-involvement, non-assumption.
  • Model the behavior we expect from others.

The list is not exhaustive. But I would like to leave you with another example of a very good orchestra. It is the royal orchestra of Denmark, which plays more than half of the year with other conductors (leaders) than its own conductor (leader) and seems to make it divine.

Doing things extraordinarily well, as a team, and when the leader is not there, is the prerogative of a super-performing team.

Now, of course, we have a choice: do we want to be like the orchestra from the beginning or like the band Metallica or the royal orchestra? The choice is up to each of us.”

via: Revista Cariere