Teams within UK firms commonly struggle to achieve their goals. That's because companies tend to see them as an end, rather than a means - often setting them up when they are simply not required.
What’s more, managers seem to have the same fixed idea that a good team is one where all members are:
- fully and equally committed to the team’s goals
- present when decisions are taken
- open with each other, and working closely together.
But times are changing, and managers are starting to recognise that a more selective approach can lead to better performance.
The truth of the matter is, not everyone needs to be present for all meetings, or informed of every decision. There’s no need to drag in the whole department for projects, if they can be carried out perfectly well by a few members who meet every few days, for example.
To ensure time is being used effectively, business leaders must also question their assumption. Once directors realise that projects should lead teams, and not the other way round, they can start looking at the requirements of their own situations, and build teams that meet them.
Organisations that can come to terms with how their teams actually operate, rather than how they ought to be working according to perceived wisdom, stand to gain a huge advantage. Creating truly successful teams requires them to focus development and drop unrealistic expectations.
The biggest challenge is to confront the value-driven rhetoric that says we must conform to the ideal, regardless of our circumstances.
How we can help
Within our management school, we believe that leadership is a skill that needs to be honed, developed and nurtured. The Centre for General Management Development (CGMD) offers general management programmes that help managers at key career stages develop into leaders who influence the strategic course of their organisations. The management development courses are:
- Cranfield Directors Programme
for senior executives wanting to make great impact as strategic leaders
- Cranfield Advanced Development Programme
for high potential managers preparing for leadership roles
- Cranfield General Management Programme
for senior managers needing a general management perspective to be more effective
- Cranfield Talent Development Programme
for young managers with a promising managerial career ahead