Building effective teams is difficult. Sometimes it seems like we are never going to make it. It feels like painting a long bridge – we never reach the end.
Not surprisingly, what makes a good team stand out is when they have stormed and normed together, they understand and complement each other and play to their strengths. Just to add another layer of complexity, politics usually results in people making strange decisions, which creates a somewhat random nature to people’s behaviours, work ethic, and associated results.
Many of us have participated in teams where the members gel together, trust each other and find ways of working that are not only effective but also enjoyable. For teams like this, performance is typically much higher than might be expected of the sum of individuals.
When it works well, it’s a standout experience, people really notice the dynamics and effectiveness, but unfortunately, the real world normally gets in the way. As a consequence, because life is busy, many managers just don’t have the time to focus on the development of the team and unwittingly become the 5-minute manager. They are involved in activities normally at the back of an issue rather than nurturing team management and finding the time to be more pro-active.
What’s more, generally most employees don’t work in high-performing teams for long periods. Team members move on, projects finish, and other pressing matters come to the fore. While it’s part of the normal course for organisations, disbanding well-functioning teams is actually a value-destroying activity, eradicating the “team capital” built and stored in the group. Because businesses don’t fundamentally recognise such teams as entities beyond the activity they are performing, this value destruction seems inevitable.
But there is another way that’s starting to evolve, where organisations capitalise on the inherent value of a well-functioning group by letting self-managed teams work together in a Nest Cluster.
A different kind of Team
The current environment where more flexibility is required, it’s more difficult to consume the capacity of resources to get them up to speed and become effective in the short term, especially where you need to manage the cost and have the ability to flex up and down with demand.
Nest Teams are a radical alternative to our traditional notion of teams. They are formed outside a company context but are hired and paid by companies as a unit – a semi-permanent part of the company. They manage, govern and develop themselves; defining their own working practices and tools and sharing out remuneration.
The Company treats the Nest as an extended team which is an atomic unit of resource. It hires, fires and positions the Nest as a unit. Likewise, each Nest appears as a unit in the business’s organisation chart. The team is focused on delivering outcomes, so they remain highly effective against a clear business goal.
A Nest team typically consists of a small number of people, managed as an extended team with a clear scope of work, and rewarded based on outcomes. They have already established shared values, work practices, tools, and roles. The team actively seek a variety of skills, talents, and personalities necessary to create a high performing group.
The team self manages itself by finding, hiring and firing members; governing itself and resolving issues; creating and sustaining work practices and tools and managing its engagement with other functions in the business in order to fulfil its direct business goals and to nurture itself.
Four main benefits:
- Higher levels of business performance through higher motivation. The Nest model, when executed well, addresses known. performance drivers such as purpose, autonomy, and mastery
- Higher levels of business performance through a custom work environment. They can create and sustain local or remote work activity as they are less burdened by bureaucratic decision-making and the need to serve the diverse needs of many types of teams and individuals.
- Talent management in the right place. The Nest model removes the burden of team and individual performance management from the business. The team knows its own members, contributions and development needs much better.
Higher levels of personal happiness. Close teams that get results are generally happier, and it has been proved that happy people are much more productive. They are sufficiently small for members to genuinely know and care about each other, and they are stable and autonomous enough for members to support each other’s long-term personal development.