Building Spirited Business Teams Part 5

Make Profitable Decisions

In the first four articles of this series of seven, I put forward a proposition that there are two types of business teams.  Teams with spirit and teams without spirit.  Business teams with spirit are winners.  Teams without spirit are losers.  Athletics provide a helpful illustration of the way in which I use the word ‘spirit’ or ‘spirited.’ When we apply the word ‘spirit’ to a team (or an individual) we are saying that they demonstrate behaviours that indicate life force energy, such as being feisty, courageous, energetic, funny, determined, curious, genuine, collaborative and focused.

Previous Articles

The previous four articles each addressed one of the seven characteristics of teams with spirit:

  • Have an Inspiring Shared Vision that sets their sights high
  • Think and Act as Team
  • Demonstrate Courage in Words and Action
  • Use 1+1=3, out-the-box thinking

The Fifth Charateristic of a Winning Business Team

In today’s article we will talk about the fifth characteristic of winning business teams which is that they make profitable decisions. Business teams throughout any organization are accountable for making decisions, large and small, strategic and tactical.  Collectively, these decisions will move the company forward, keep it in neutral or move it backwards.  The trick is to get every team, from boardroom to backroom, to make profitable decisions, so that they are growing the company and keeping it moving in the agreed direction.
Here’s my definition of ‘profitable decisions.’   These are decisions that deliver an excellent return on investment on time, talent, strategy and intelligence– as well as financial outcomes.  P

Profitable decisions:

  • Are made in an efficient manner
  • Involve vigorous dialogue
  • Include a wide diversity of input and perspective
  • Are strategically focused
  • Are based on fundamentally different thinking
  • Lead to significant revenue enhancement

EGO Driven Teams

So what’s the problem?   You get in a room, get lots of input from everyone, check that the decision aligns with the strategy and use a quick and efficient process.   The problem is ego.  When the team members  are responding to each other with ego, there is a significantly increased probability that they will make poor decisions that are costly and unprofitable.

Making decisions that service the business goals requires that the  team members have the integrity and strength of character to lay personal agendas aside and put the company’s goals first.  If they are ego driven, this is unlikely to happen. Since the central purpose of ego is to protect us and take care of ‘me, my and I’, it is difficult, if not impossible to lay personal agendas aside, when the ego is in the driver’s seat.  The result is that ego-driven decision-makers tend to make defensive, short-term, self-serving, and strategically inappropriate decisions, regardless of whether it’s right or wrong for the company, profitable or not.

SPIRIT Driven Teams

What do winning business teams with spirit do?

  • Do not engage in one-upmanship.  Instead they seek to leverage  each other’s unique talent,  expertise and perspectives.
  • Do not get locked into polarities or either-or thinking. They think integratively and holistically – asking what kind of solution or decision can we make that integrates the best of all worlds.
  • Do not allow themselves to get stuck with ‘either-or’ thinking.  Instead, they synthesize contradictions.
  • Do not work with a single reality. They seek to assimilate multiple realities.
  • Avoid linear thinking where B always follows A and precedes C.  They challenge the current worldview and seek the panoramic view (the bigger picture is no longer enough!).
  • Maintain their personal integrity and values; are direct and honest and at the same time show humility.
  • See the funny side of life.

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