High Performance Teams
By Senior Master Sgt. Christopher Underwood, 129th Rescue Wing Human Resources Advisor
/ Published June 05, 2010
MOFFETT FEDERAL AIRFIELD, Calif. -- "E pluribus Unum."
"Out of many, one."
With a commitment to work together as high performing teams we maximize our strengths and capabilities to rise above any challenge.
As an Airman, you are never alone!
What must we do as leaders to create an atmosphere where High Performance Teams can develop and flourish? We must first allow for space and time for our Airmen to connect in order to increase our organization social capital.
Researchers Don Cohen and Laurence Prusak define social capital as "the stock of active connections among people: the trust, mutual understanding, and shared values and behaviors that bind the members of human networks and communities and make cooperative action possible." Investment in space and time for our people to share stories, build trust, and share values and behaviors are crucial components of building High Performance Teams:
"Space and time for people to gather and make connections with one another are the seedbed and sunlight of social capital. By providing them, leaders can foster conditions that help social capital thrive. If you want people to connect, to talk, to begin to understand and depend on one another, give them places and occasions for meeting, and enough time to develop networks and communities. Social capital needs breathing room--social space and time--within work and surrounding work."
As our social capital increases our unit cohesiveness and togetherness will increase resulting in High Performance Teams that continue to surpass our goals and competitive standard as we, in-turn, set the standards for others to follow. History shows us the importance of effective communication and team building encouraged and supported by leadership allowing time and space for people to meet and share their stories. iGlobal Networks' cultural leadership training lab states:
"In ancient Greece, Socrates and his friends spent years freely meeting and conversing with each other, having dialogues that helped shape Western civilization. They exchanged ideas without trying to change the other's mind and without bitter argument. They felt free to propose whatever was on their mind. They always paid attention to each other's views and established an extraordinary fellowship. Socrates and his friends bound themselves by principles of discussion to maintain a sense of collegiality... These principles they established were to establish dialogue, be collegial, clarify your thinking, and be honest."
High Performance Teams evolve from meetings and dialogue such as these that are rooted in trust, diversity, and open-mindedness resulting in successful mission effectiveness ratings, positive organization climate survey assessments, etc.
As leaders, we must continue to remind ourselves of the importance of the concept behind these quotes and theories, and how much more stronger, how much more powerful, and how much more cohesive we are as a Team; a High Performance Team. As we, the 129th Rescue Wing, continue to reap the benefits of Teamwork, let us continue this momentum toward Greatness as we have shown that Together We are Better!
As we continue to push the Flywheel and raise the bar that the Air National Guard Office of Cultural Leadership and Development has set for us, continue the Flywheel Momentum by interweaving these points into your agendas for all meetings and monthly roll-calls:
- High Performance Teams seek opportunities to capitalize on the synergy of their Airmen to maximize and improve overall fundamental strength and the highest standards for efficiency.
- Achieving our mission is our highest priority. That will be achieved when we as leaders have the humility to rise above personal ego to serve the cause, the goal, the mission.
Ask yourself: What did I do today to push on the flywheel?
- As a seamless team, we are able to overcome any challenge. We must continue to show the same resolve and determination towards:
- Excellence: Do I go beyond competitive standards?
- Teamwork: Is our team a team that produces superior results?
- Empowerment: Are all teams of Airmen provided freedom, decision authority and resources to excel?
Lastly, ask yourself, have I allowed the necessary space and time for social capital to grow and High Performance Teams to evolve in my organization? If not, it is important to know that it is not too late. Know that your team is depending on you to be an effective leader and team-player.