Thursday, September 16, 2010

Great Projects are Achieved by Great Teams

...but not just any old teams. Organizations may be all about groups and teamwork, but most of the time these are simply a collection of people who once had vaguely-defined objectives. Inertia has taken over, and they only exist because no one has enough gumption to suggest otherwise.

At the opposite end of the spectrum are what design firm IDEO calls "hot project teams." They start with a clear goal and a serious deadline. They know they might disband after the goal is reached but reform when another problems pops up. They are infused with purpose and personality. They have a passion about doing great projects.


What does a hot group look like? IDEO general manager Tom Kelley, writing in "The Art of Innovation," thinks these characteristics are present:
  • They are totally dedicated to achieving the end result
  • They face down ridiculous deadlines
  • They are irreverent and nonhierarchial
  • They are well-rounded and respectful of diversity
  • They work in open, eclectic space optimal for flexibility, group work, and brainstorming
  • They feel empowered to go get whatever else is needed
  • They love a challenge
  • They find ways to leap barriers
  • They answer questions with actions instead of words
Teams should be ground zero for innovation in your organization. But always remember they start with individuals. There are plenty of extraordinary people at your place. Match them to projects, challenge them, and give them a chance to blossom - then back off and watch them blow you away with results.

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