“A champion team will always beat a team of champions.”
It’s a popular saying often repeated in sporting and other contexts. I remember hearing it said by numerous sporting coaches and CEO’s alike.
The saying proclaims that a team of good players who have played together, bonded and share a common team goal will defeat a team of assembled superstar players who prioritise their individual goals over those of the team. In today’s rapidly changing and disruptive world, it’s a very applicable concept.
Let’s face it. Innovation, just like sport, is hard work. It requires high-performance and leadership if your team or organisation is going to be successful. And every innovation leader needs a high performing innovation team to deliver desired innovative outcomes.
Some questions come to mind.
- Do you have a team of good players?
- Have you provided your team with the best tools, training and methods?
- Do you have an innovation coach to bring out the best?
- Do you have an indicator to measure your team’s capability compared to others?
Since 2006, our team at Hargraves has been observing and working with innovation teams across a diverse sectors, disciplines and challenging situations. Members have given us the opportunity to explore both success and failure in innovation teams.
What works? The common factors of success
- Diversity of people and tools used.
- Mindset of team members.
- A successful team uses measures and indicators that are reportable.
- And the most important factor of all? How team members help each other, ask for help outside the team and respond to coaching and change.
What didn’t work? The common factors of failure
- The team composition becomes stuck in a rut and teams use the same tools over and over for every problem.
- Individual team members become fixed in their mindset and do not grow or change.
- Team performance is not measured or measures define outputs, not outcomes.
- And most important factor of all? Innovation teams can become isolated from the larger collection of work teams. They become ‘too busy’ on their projects to network and collaborate across the wider organisation.
Innovation leaders and leaders of teams need a mirror to reflect their performance and give feedback. Continuous improvement of the team is vitally important for ongoing success; with innovation coaching to stay on track.
Do your team members help each other? Do they ask for help. Here’s 2 simple questions on helping.
If you lead an innovation team, request a team code to collate outputs.
Written by Allan Ryan, Hargraves Executive Director and Innovation Expert.