R&D teams strive for ambition, excellence and impact for technology innovation and growth.
However, many teams don´t realize that performance is given by potential minus interference, as taught by Timothy Gallwey, father of coaching.
Transposed to teams becomes:
Team performance = Team potential – Interferences
Team performance reveals the ability of the team to express the potential of individual team members and the team itself as a group to achieve cutting-edge goals.
That is, team performance reveals how well a team is able to transform its energies into high-impact, visible and exploitable results.
Well hidden, however, are the interferences as real avenues for energy losses. The team with great potential, excellent members, excellent infrastructure and resources loses its best momentum.
See your team as an energy conversion system: from potential to performance:
” The root of the problem is not the lack or unawareness of potential, nor the expression of team performance
– it´s ENERGY LOSS.
Identifying and uncovering hidden energy losses is the key to reach the NEXT LEVEL of your team.
How to identify energy losses?
Let’s take a look at what goes on in the day-to-day life of an R&D team:
R&D teams are caught up in various tasks, milestones, deadlines, coordination of ongoing projects, acquisition of new projects, bureaucratic delays, experiments and analyses, writing scientific papers, doctoral dissertations, reading and answering emails, meetings, …
95% per cent of working time is devoted to clearing these various activities.
This is the focus.
What if the team suffers energy losses?
What if these energy losses cause the team to lose momentum?
It would be like a boat taking on water and sailing weighted down. The boat is moving forward…but at what speed? What would be its real potential, its cruising speed?
There is rarely a chance to stop and observe. That is reality.
Stopping and observing is a luxury.
But an indispensable luxury to bring the best ideas into the world, to express the excellence of the team and to position oneself at the cutting edge.
Curious and driven by my passion for statistics and my 15 years dedicated to R&D, I launched a survey among team leaders and team members mainly from the R&D sector.
Responses to the survey come from 21 teams across 8 countries.
76% of the respondents stated they occupy a leadership position.
- What are the top 3 urgent issues (problems/challenges) you see in your team to raise it to its next level?
- What are the 3 wishes you dream for the evolution of your team?
Finally, I considered what I learnt from Rudyard Kipling:
A team cannot be regarded as a separate identity, but must be seen as a union of different members with their own values, motivation and potential.
Therefore, the last two sections of the survey examine:
- What are the top 3 urgent issues (problems/challenges) you personally experience in your team/work?
- What are the top 3 wishes you dream for your personal growth in your team/work?
Statistic paints a clear picture!
Which are the top 3 URGENT challenges for teams?
Though the statistic shows that teams face a large and complicated set of challenges, only three factors take a large fraction of the cake (53.3%) and have an outsized impact.
INEFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION is the first urgent obstacle. One in 4 respondents brought it up.
What is meant by ineffective communication? As the survey responses show, these below are the nuances that have been given to define it:
- Unshared team vision
- Unshared processes
- Lack of constant updates
- Lack of acknowledgement of achievements
- Lack of support from higher levels (team leaders/group/division)
- Lack of transparency
- We do not know what other team members are doing
UNCLEAR PLANNING AND UNCLEAR GOALS takes the 18.8%.
In addition to the direct meaning of poor planning and goal setting, it is described as undefined project management, lack of time for brainstorming and poor involvement of people.
TEAMWORK with 9.2% in the third position.
In the survey it is specified as:
- Lack of cooperation
- Lack of knowledge sharing
- Defective delegation
- Lack of team spirit
- Lack of involvement in decisions and processes
Does it speak to you?
What are the implications of this?
The core problem is that people work in a partially disconnected team environment, with a certain lack of cooperation, unshared vision and unclear goals to achieve.
All this implies that:
of the average 8 working hours, a significant amount of time and energy is not directed to the progress and excellence of the team.
Motivation and trust decreases.
People prefer to work on their own.
Problems and work slowdowns are not communicated.
This is what some interviewees report:
– I do not know what some team members do.
– Where do we want to be in 2,3,5 years? We lack vision.
– In some periods we don’t have a good planning. I mean, we move from one task to another without a good plan.
Do you reflect yourself in it?
If more than 50% of the surveyed teams say that ineffective communication, unclear planning/goals and teamwork are key challenges in their teams, you could expect a similar trend in your team or environment, too.
Are similar energy losses – as revealed by this survey – hurting and slowing down your team performance?
Which are the top 3 dreams in teams?
Problems cannot be solved just by taking them into account. A further step is needed. It is about changing perspective. You need to imagine the ideal future, what you want, what you aspire to.
You need to allow yourself to dream.
The team dreams reported in the survey are outlined below.
This is the strong and pressing need that team leaders and team members require. Almost 1 in 2 respondents mentioned it as a top dream.
In the survey responses it is expressed as:
- ONE-group dimension (shared values, shared vision, shared processes)
- Team building
- Fruitful collaboration
- Team entertainment and leisure time
PROFESSIONAL & TEAM DEVELOPMENT (15.5%)
- Team member retention
- Talent attraction and development
- Team growth, innovative learning and skill development
- National/international collaborations
COMMUNICATION (INWARDS) (13.4%)
- Sharing of vision
- Sharing of achievements
- Mutual listening
- Empowering team members
- Internal meetings
Some interviewees say:
I wish team experiences outside working times
I wish spending more time sharing our thoughts and ideas on others work. We should listen more to our colleagues.
I dream being so aligned with clear roles and responsibilities that people can act as in an orchestra…
Can teams and team leaders overlook this?
What are the implications?
This implies that respondents to the survey recognize the importance of having fruitful collaboration within the team and of creating a ONE-group dimension, also to see their group grow in value and visibility and compete in today’s market.
Sharing of vision, transparency, humility and mutual listening play a remarkable role in the answers to the survey.
” team leaders and team members want and dream of a team in which attitudes such as sharing, transparency, humility and mutual listening are at the centre of communication for the greater advantage of teamwork.
This emerges also very clearly from the personal key challenges and dreams – section 3 and 4 of the survey (follow my next articles. I will publish the striking outcomes shortly).
Make your team effective.
A football team wins when in addition to top players there is swift understanding, mutual encouragement and ONE-Group dimension.
The ancient Romans aligned themselves in testudo formations. Cohesion, shared processes and group organisation were their winning features.
Migratory birds use a V-shaped flight formation to reduce wind resistance and the leadership role is switched to allow rest and thus longer journeys.
” An EFFECTIVE team is a team able to
FULFILL its PURPOSE and ACHIEVE ITS CHALLENGING GOALS by
- tapping into team members’ potential,
- leveraging team spirit and
- reducing energy losses.
The way I make teams effective is to coach them to co-create a compelling strategy and move to the next level of teamwork, through:
This process is about SENSING the single energy loss, OBSERVING what lies at its root and TAKING SWIFT ACTIONS using smart action plans.
This makes the team a ONE-group able to achieve excellence and cutting-edge goals.
REFLECT and IDENTIFY:
Help your team to determine energy losses and to make it ready to advance to its next level
Energy losses are the constraints for the expression of the team’s potential.
They erode motivation and collaboration among team members.
They covertly limit team performance, achievement of excellence and personal well-being.
Now, start playing.
Guess what specific energy losses are hidden in your team.
Lack of a shared vision? Undefined roles? Unclear goal setting? Conflict management? Disconnection between team members?
What will be the outcome of your team?
You can find it out through the same survey I created for this work. In less than 10 minutes you take a snapshot of your team and your professional life.
This is the first step towards taking yourself and your team to the NEXT LEVEL.
After your team has completed the survey, I will contact the team leader or the representative to present the analyzed and anonymized results.
Bring to light the energy losses of your team.
Make your team a ONE-group
able to achieve excellence and cutting-edge goals.
ACC ICF-Certified Coach
Life, Team, R&D Coach
Systemic Experiential Trainer
I drive R&D leaders and teams
to identify and reduce hidden energy losses, foster creative change and boost effectiveness
to achieve challenging goals
through empowering team’s connectedness and co-creating an effective strategy.