16 Nov Fit for Purpose Team
Let’s reflect upon the means to this end. Every project needs to be fit for purpose i.e. customised to the needs of the specific outcome.
There is no right team model for every project. However, just like software which is neither completely standard nor completely bespoke, there is opportunity to leverage customisable off the shelf (COTS) approaches. In my experience, the High Performance Team, which I first learned working for CSC Index, is a good example of an outcome-focused team construct. The key is that it starts with the end in mind and a commitment to achieve this outcome i.e. generating a ‘stand’.
|In this big project context, a ‘stand’ acts to inspire the team and to align the team on one main thing. It’s our flag or our ‘standard’ which we rally behind. It’s our high ground that we have to conquer, a place to come from, to stand in, rather than just a goal to aspire to. J F Kennedy’s stand on May 25, 1961 was the dramatic goal of sending a man safely to the Moon before the end of the decade. It’s a good example because it has a measurable outcome i.e. what = the moon, how = safely, when = end of the decade.|
Why is this important? Because it requires people to act differently. It’s not just business as usual. It’s not just when we get there, we get there. It should not only inspire and align the team around a stretch target, but should also be the ‘standard’ by which we are judged. It informs us that our principal accountability is to the outcome and everything revolves around this central point. It helps us to build alignment so it’s not about your view Vs my view but what moves us closer to our ‘stand’ Vs moves us away. Normally we would start from the ‘stand’ and work out from there to determine how we need to work as a High Performance Team, what are our team principles, and what we are each prepared to give. Therefore, the ‘stand’ anchors our ambition in a measurable future outcome.
There are other ways to do it and I am open to them. This is just the approach that works for me. And after all, the team is a means to help achieve the specific end outcome. It needs to be fit for purpose. If we can achieve the outcome another way then that’s OK too. What works for you?