Team Intelligence And Turning Pro
In my work on team intelligence, we know that surprisingly few teams consistently show up with their “A” game. For example more than 50% of people on senior leadership teams don’t think they’re performing as well as they could be. Teams face a constant battle to fight off mediocrity and mayhem.
Too many teams act like Amateur teams, not Pro teams.
Is your Team Pro?
What might a Pro Team look like?
- People show up to meetings prepared
- They treat their team meetings like it’s match day
- They learn systems and routines to work together and drive better outcomes.
What Pro Teams don’t do
- Show up late, and improvise
- All chase after the ball
- Have no game plan for the meeting
The other difference between a Pro team and an Amateur one would not be noticeable in one meeting, but would emerge over time….
… Pro Teams are always improving
Pro Teams are good at learning and improving. They improve their strategies, ideas, projects. And they improve how they work as a team to deliver their goals.
How do they do that?
- They review and learn from their projects’ wins and losses
- They seek the truth, they don’t seek to be right
- They build mental models, so that they understand the world better
As an example, take Mike Maples of Floodgate Mike Maples of Floodgate, a US Venture Capital Firm. He and his team have to make big decisions about whether to invest in start-ups.
Floodgate do something that most teams don’t. They keep records of every decision. They track whether they got it right. And they turn the patterns into mental models which they use to better understand the world of start-ups – and to make better decisions.
For example, they use a mental model called the Herbie model featured in the book The Goal.
The Herbie model: An example of a mental model
A group of scouts is walking to get to a destination. Some are moving fast and others are struggling. As a group they have stretched out. Herbie is at the back. How can they get to the destination quickest? They need to work on Herbie. They need to maybe take items out of his pack and give them to faster movers. This general mental model says, “find the biggest handbrake on a company’s growth and focus exclusively on that, before fixing the next biggest handbrake”. It’s a simple mental model. When teams develop models like these, they can improve their thinking over time.
Pro Teams build models
Using our metaphor of Pros vs Amateur teams, these Pro Teams have codified their knowledge into thinking routines. That’s just like Pro soccer teams practise free kick routines.
And that means every time they make a decision, they are learning.
They don’t see a problem or a decision as a one-time issue to be resolved before moving on. They use each decision as a chance to build a better mental model of their business and their environment.
Amateur Teams react & decide. Pro Teams learn & build.
Written by Rob Pyne