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People who lead businesses have one challenge only: create great teams to achieve the objectives that a company today has, like… growth-growth-growth, change-change-change, innovate-innovate-innovate.
I want to share some thoughts after two days of a workshop with Joakim Sundén, former agile coach at Spotify where he co-designed Agile at scale — the Spotify Model, the way of working that makes companies great.
Disclaimer: there is not a Spotify Model. Agile at Scale is an inspirational transformation framework, an organisation and leadership model that you can’t copy because you are not Spotify, but you can use as an inspiration to design the best way of working which allows your company to grow healthily and fast.
«The foundation for being Agile at Scale is to create great teams and make sure they have the support they need».
~ Joakim Sundén
So, the key point is: if your company wants to succeed, you need to create great teams. And how can you do that? Here is my recipe. It’s not just a list, I consider it as an operative system to be used daily and based on collaboration plus happiness, because I strongly believe that teams win if people are happy to go to work and happy to share the path with others. So, let’s start.
- Hire people with the right skills, of course, but pay a lot of attention to the personalities: vertical skills are not enough.
- Be sure that they have the skill to learn new skills. It’s all about curiosity, being ready to learn is something inevitable for those who want to grow. And you need people who are ready to grow quickly.
- Keep on training people, by nurturing their talents and filling the gaps.
- Promote trust and transparency, the two things are strictly connected and if this is not a rule for the team, at the end of the day there isn’t a team.
- Invite people to talk and to explain the “why” about what they did/will do.
- Give continuous feedback in a structured way (and be sure that this kind of feedback is also common between colleagues).
- Have a clear direction and vision and align the team on that.
- Communicate and over-communicate in a clear way.
- Be ready to listen.
- Give autonomy to the team (to the team, not to specific people).
- Give precise responsibilities to single people and set shared goals for the whole team.
- Have a strong and well-communicated company culture.
- Invite people to share with team the things they did and the goals they achieved. And celebrate!
- Remind that when you think of a team 1+1>2 and 1+1+1>>3 (>> means much greater). My maths professors will excuse me, but when it comes to people, an anti-mathematical concept like this can be demonstrated scientifically!
Then, remember: motivation is what people need to work and succeed, therefore clarity and over communication are the things you can’t miss.
My idea of leadership is based on empowerment and support, where:
- clear vision, directions and strategy + clear communication means empowerment;
- support is listening to people’s needs and feelings + asking how you can help them to achieve those challenging goals (instead of saying what they have to do and how).
Conclusive disclaimer: the perfect recipe for creating great teams doesn’t exist; this is the one I’m trying to develop today at Talent Garden (not the same as yesterday, not the same as tomorrow). If you think it’s useful, take inspiration and then create your own.
And feel free to reach me/comment online to share your way of working: the more healthy and fast-growing companies we create, the more we foster innovation in Europe.
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