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The Life Cycle of a Team – Part 1. Preparation

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.

-Colin Powell

Have you ever been a part of a team that just seemed to be busy “doing stuff?” If you lead a team or are on a team like this, you may need to take the time to do the important preparation needed to accomplish what’s before you.

Colin Powell’s quote above encompasses the life cycle of a healthy team.

  • Preparation
  • Hard Work
  • Learning from Failure

So what do you do in this preparation stage? For starters, there are four basic areas you need to get clear on before you can know how to prepare your team.

First off, you’ve got to get clear on a few basic questions like: What’s your basic business? & What’s your role or purpose within your organization?

Second, ask your team what’s the most important thing that needs to happen right now? Based on where you are at, what do you need to accomplish if you are going to be counted as successful within the next season?

Third, take an inventory and ask yourself if you have the right people to accomplish what you determined in #2?

Fourth, once you’ve gotten clear on all of the above and have the right people, then you can go on to preparing your team well.

Here’s How to Prepare Your Team
Based on the task at hand (#2) and considering the people you have (#3), where are the gaps? How do you need to prepare your people to accomplish the task at hand? THIS is how you are to prepare and resource them. This is your role as the leader.

Here’s an example.

I often lead team building & strategy sessions. But I don’t lead these in a set format. Beforehand, I meet with the leader to see what the needs of the team are. Then I design an experience that will prepare the team to accomplish well the task they are facing. This isn’t a once size fits all thing. Every team is different, so different resourcing will almost always be needed. Click here to see some examples.

Your team may not know how to deal with conflict constructively. Not dealing with this may derail any efforts you put toward your desired task. In this case, they need resources about how to have hard conversations with one another.

Another example may be that you have a new team and that doesn’t know each other. In this case you may need to facilitate a session where they learn each other’s stories and personal history. Not doing this may result in a lack of trust and therefore your team members will not trust each other.

The role of a leader is to get people from where they are at to where they need to be. Are you doing this well?

In Summary
In conclusion, here’s what you need to do in your preparation stage: Determine what will be needed to get you from where you are at to where you need to be. Resource and prepare accordingly.

Preparing your team well will result in a fully invested team able to accomplish your task at hand. In my next post I’ll cover what it looks like to release & support your team to accomplish the task at hand.


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