Maximizing Team Capability On A Budget

A theory for your consideration- spike strength and it’s corollary, spike weakness.

Here is a methodology for cost-effectively producing extraordinary performance in teams and organizations without breaking the bank.

Let’s use a sporting analogy to illustrate. If you are competing in a decathlon, you have to be capable in all 10 sports. Finding these water walkers is hard and often expensive as they are sought after for their broad skill spectrums. Finding them in the right numbers is well nigh impossible. Not only is it hard to find them but ultimately, they are unlikely to be world-class at any of the 10 sports. So, if a team of people were fielded against them, each having a single world-class capability, the decathlete would almost always lose.

So that is the problem: how can this fact be used to advantage in a business team?

Picking individuals with one extraordinary spike strength is a cost-effective way of getting capability. However, often, in my long and varied experience, they have an attendant spike weakness. Often, the weakness is they don’t play well with others and often feel underappreciated.

This can be overcome but only with strong, constant, and clear leadership.

This leadership needs, at a minimum, to heavily promote team goals e.g. it doesn’t matter if you are a great striker if you can’t work with your midfield teammates. Customers don’t care about individual prowess that much; what they do care about though is the team winning. Working spike strengths into a coherent whole is not only very satisfying for the entire team but also for customers and, therefore, shareholders.

One element I have found powerful is for the leader to make sure the strategy is clear to everyone and constantly reinforced, helping individuals see their part in the whole and how valued they are for their contribution. Everyone needs to feel valued and a hero or heroine in their own story.

Once this approach is adopted, it becomes self-reinforcing and a powerful way of helping folks who might never have felt valued become confident contributors valued for their strength and impact versus not being a decathlete.

By: Steven Murray, Founder and Managing Director, Firefly Energy Solutions