01 02 03 "CorporateTheatre": The Wisdom of Teams - 10. The Team as the Leader 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

The Wisdom of Teams - 10. The Team as the Leader

(In this series of posts offering excerpts from the book, 'The Wisdom of Teams' by Jon Katzenbach and Douglas Smith (Harvard Business School Press), the excerpts are in bold.)  

"Finally, because of their focus on performance, teams motivate, challenge, reward, and support individuals who are trying to change the way they do things."


"In fact, most models of the “organization of the future” that we have heard about—“networked,” “clustered,” “nonhierarchical,” “horizontal,” and so forth—are premised on teams surpassing individuals as the primary performance unit in the company."


"In addition, the individual’s role and performance will become more a matter for teams, instead of hierarchies of managers, to exploit; that is, in many cases teams, not managers, will figure out what the individuals on those teams should be doing and how they are performing."

These statements powerfully reinforce the team dynamics experienced through "CorporateTheatre". 

Every time a participant batch is divided into teams, they instantly and instinctively manifest all the powerful elements of highly motivated and effective teams.  This happens even when the participants are coming together for the first time from totally different backgrounds.  

Given a new challenge with severe time, resource, and even perceived competency constraints, teams inevitably find the necessary new competencies, create the required resources, manage the deadline, and deliver performances and productions beyond their own initial expectations and beyond the expectations of their clients (audience).  

Once the leadership of an organization understands and experiences what constitutes a 'natural' team, their primary task would be to create such teams within the organization. The leadership team and the key stakeholders or heads of the various teams also become a 'natural' leadership team at the top. 

Once this has been done, the task of leadership would be to clearly define 'destinations' for the various teams, to the extent possible in consultation with the teams concerned - where we should reach as a team, by when, and what are the essential parameters that would make reaching the destination a collective success, as well as the rewards involved.  

Once the destination is clear, the team will define the journey.  That is not the responsibility of the top leadership.  On the journey, leadership of the team will evolve according to who knows that part of the journey best, irrespective of designation or hierarchy.  And once the destination has been reached successfully, and it is time for rewards, the team can be trusted to decide who contributed most to that success and are the star performers on this particular journey.

These possibilities have been behaviourally reinforced unconditionally and consistently by thousands of participants from a variety of backgrounds across industry, hierarchy, and culture.  It is heartening to see research validation in this wonderful book.

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