Creating Insight: The Key for Team Success

People work in teams.  And yet, the sum of their efforts is often less than their individual contributions. Why is this?

Despite their best intentions, teams often act in ways that are not in their best interest.  While they may be aware that they’re not at their best, they often don’t recognize that they are contributing to the problems they’re struggling with.  The challenge for leaders or coaches of these teams is to create a collective insight, which will open up new possibilities for success.

Here’s how that played out for one leadership team.  The leadership team of a corporate internal service provider was struggling because their business partners viewed them as “small and not capable of handling bigger projects.”  As a result, they were not getting bigger projects and their entire existence within this Fortune 100 company was called into question.

It was easy for the leadership team to dismiss their internal customers for not appreciating the value they added.  However, during a leadership team meeting with a coach they took a deeper dive.  What they discovered surprised them.

The team prided itself on providing value at a low cost and “empowering their customers” to manage their cost curve.  In working with customers for projects that could easily go into six figures, they would quote a low price and then charge extra for incidentals, which added hundreds or thousands of dollars to the total price.  Customers felt “nickeled and dimed.”  This gave customers the impression that the group was scraping for money and not really capable of handling large projects.  Customers lost faith that they could deliver and stopped working with them.

The coach working with the leadership team asked: “How does your sales process shape customer’s perception of who you are?”  Through conversation, the team realized that:  “We seem small; we scrape for every dollar; we lure customers in and then become pick-pockets.”

The coach then asked:  “Can you see how you got in this situation?” The team reflected on this and concluded, “We thought that we were empowering, but in fact we were abdicating the design and management of projects.  No wonder our clients don’t trust us to manage the big initiatives.”

Building on these insights, the team next focused on what they could do differently, which included higher fixed price bids.  The changes they put in place increased their revenue as it altered their customers’ perception of them.

Is it possible that your team is getting in its own way?  Consider:

  • Who or what does your team blame for the challenges they’re facing?
  • How might the perceptions and actions of the team be contributing to the situation?
  • How could your team change its approach to open up new possibilities?

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How have you helped teams to see how they are getting in their own way and successfully change their approach?

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