I just finish a class I am taking for my project management certification called Work Team Concepts and Skills taught by Kobe Bogaert. The class is about how to build a high performance team.
In the class, Kobe talks about that a high performance team does not just come naturally, it takes effort and constant improvements. There are teams, there are low performance teams, and there are high performance teams. All teams have a goal and experiences breakdowns. What separates a high performance team from rest of the teams is that a high performance team practices open, or what Kobe refer to as “Authentic”, conversation to create breakthroughs. Open/authentic conversation involved team members actively and openly speaking and listening to each other. It is through these speaking and listening conversations that real issues gets talked about and resolved. This is open conversation. Kobe goes on to say that there is even a higher level of conversation called the “Authentic” conversations that involves team members trying to understand the reason why the other party has a particular point of view. This involves “Authentic” listening and the key to this type of listening is empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. If you are a listener and can express empathy, then you can understand the other party’s point of view and where they are coming from. If the team practices “Authentic” speaking and listening, the team will be able to leverage the powers of all the members of the team. This is more powerful than what just a single member of the team can do. If the team can authentically speak and bound ideas of off each other, the team will be able to achieve a lot more and this is a high performance team.
To put it in perspective, Kobe describe a situation where there are 4 different people all together deciding on which house to purchase. One is a architect, one is an engineer, one is the husband, and the other is the wife. Each person has a different perspective on how they look at each of the different houses. If each person in the group can contribute their input on their area of expertise about the houses they look at, then they will be able to ultimately pick the best house to purchase.