management offsite

Exceptional Teams Share This Essential Capability

There are dozens of characteristics that define exceptional teams. You want your team to succeed, right? Then your job is to do what you can to make sure your group has its house in order.

You likely already know many of the team effectiveness characteristics that are on the list:

  • Purpose
  • Goals
  • Processes
  • Roles
  • Responsibilities
  • Resources

And on and on.

Digital transformation

Darn it. Just like you and many others, I forgot to add something to the list. While it may be included in the “on and on” part, it’s too important for that.

It’s a prerequisite for doing most of the other things well. That alone, means it should find its rightful place at the top of your to-do list.

Your team must be phenomenal at decision-making

Think about it. Working together means you’ve agreed to collaborate. There isn’t one person with all the answers. Instead, you and your teammates figure it out together.

Others have ideas and preferences that are different from yours. To make progress, you have to sort through the options and then decide how to proceed.

Consider the list above and turn them into decisions. How good would your team be at answering these questions:

  • What is the purpose of our team?
  • What goals and priorities should we pursue?
  • How should we approach our work?
  • Who is doing what?
  • How will we solve that problem?

Questions like these are important. You need answers. Because you are acting as a team, you need to figure them out together, and that means making decisions.

Decision-making actions

Teams that are remarkable decision-makers:

  • Recognize when a decision is on the table.
  • Gather and use the necessary data.
  • Manage bias.
  • Respect all voices.
  • Make the call.
  • Act on the decision.

Evaluate your decisions

The best decision-making teams also evaluate how well they make their decisions. Their metrics might include:

  • Outcome: In hindsight, how often does it appear we made the right call?
  • Speed: How long does it take us to make important decisions?
  • Resources: What does it cost us to arrive at our decision? How many people and at what level in the organization?
  • Relationships: Are we able to maintain respect in the face of contentious issues?

The defining activity of successful teams is decision-making, especially those decisions that belong to more than one member of the group. If you want to build an amazing team, you should start by improving its decision-making capabilities.

If you’re unsure of how to proceed, let’s talk. I’d be happy to help.

Tom LaForce, President, LaForce Teamwork Inc.