Is your team on the way up or on the way down?

August 5, 2009 — Leave a comment

As I mentioned here last week, I’ve been reading some great stuff from Jim Collins’ new book, How the Mighty Fall.

Today I read this comparison between teams on the way up and teams on the way down.  How managers–and team members–interact says a lot about the state of a company (or a church).

Teams on the way down: People shield those in power from unpleasant facts, fearful of penalties and criticism for shining light on the rough realities

Teams on the way up: People bring forth grim facts—”Come here and look, man, this is ugly”—to be discussed; leaders never criticize those who bring forth harsh realities

Teams on the way down: People assert strong opinions without providing data, evidence, or a solid argument

Teams on the way up: People bring data, evidence, logic, and solid arguments to the discussion

Teams on the way down: The team leader has a very low questions-to-statements ratio, avoiding critical input and/or allowing sloppy reasoning and unsupported opinions

Teams on the way up: The team leader employs a Socratic style, using a high questions-to-statements ratio, challenging people, and pushing for penetrating insights

Teams on the way down: Team members acquiesce to a decision but don’t unify to make the decision successful—or worse, undermine it after the fact

Teams on the way up: Team members unify behind a decision once made, then work to make the decision succeed, even if they vigorously disagreed with it

Teams on the way down: Team members seek as much credit as possible for themselves, yet do not enjoy the confidence and admiration of their peers

Teams on the way up: Each team member credits other people for success, yet enjoys the confidence and admiration of his or her peers

Teams on the way down: Team members argue to look smart or to further their own interests rather than argue to find the best answers to support the overall cause

Teams on the way up: Team members argue and debate, not to improve their personal position but to find the best answers to support the overall cause

Teams on the way down: The team conducts “autopsies with blame,” seeking culprits rather than wisdom

Teams on the way up: The team conducts “autopsies without blame,” mining wisdom from painful experiences

Teams on the way down: Team members often fail to deliver exceptional results and blame other people or outside factors for setbacks, mistakes, and failures

Teams on the way up: Each team member delivers exceptional results, yet in the event of a setback each accepts full responsibility and learns from mistakes

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