Ground breaking research on the creation of shared identity in teams undertaken by the Centre for Team Excellence and the University of Sussex. Download the full white paper here.
There is a compelling case for organisations to fundamentally reassess how they approach team and leadership development. Globally people’s trust in the system (government, corporations, NGOs and the media) is at an all-time low. Within organisations, fewer employees report being fully engaged than ever before – less than 10% in Western Europe. The training industry has failed to deliver the leaders and teams that organisations need. Meanwhile people are being increasingly asked to collaborate in teams, as work becomes more complex, hierarchies are removed and innovation and agility are more highly prized. It is time to question the fundamentals of the traditional approach to team and leadership development.
The new science
In collaboration with University of Sussex, we spent three years conducting a pioneering research project aimed at giving leaders a concrete mechanism to harness the energy and passion of their followers. It culminated in a breakthrough in our understanding of differences between high and low performing teams. We found that team identity has a dramatic impact on team performance, with the 20% of teams with the strongest identities outperforming the bottom 20% by a massive 53%. The research also showed that five fundamental beliefs motivate the members of a team to identify with it.
This performance increase occurs because team members become fully engaged, committed and aligned with the team’s success, but it’s not just performance. Our research sits on the shoulders of four decades of study into group behaviour that shows people who strongly identify with their team feel more trusted, supported, resilient and satisfied with work. They experience lower levels of stress and sickness absence, as well as being less likely to want to quit. Our aim is to equip leaders with the understanding and tools to harness the power of group psychology and
team identity in order to create teams people care about – full of passion, pride and performance.
We make six recommendations to organisations:
- Every team can benefit from a strong identity that gives it a performance edge.
- Team identity needs to be tangible, based on clear shared understandings and agreements.
- The process a team uses to create, embed and live its identity is just as important as the content of that identity.
- Leaders who understand that leading is about creating a sense of “us” and not about “me”, will be more successful in the modern workplace.
- The most successful leadership development happens when training focuses on the leader’s real teams, with real people, addressing real challenges.
- Measure the results. Only when they measure the business impact of team or leadership development will organisations fully embrace its potential to revolutionise their workplace.
We have developed a methodology called TRIBE, which offers teams a practical way to systematically agree and
embed the five fundamental beliefs that motivate identification in a team, creating a strong implementable and
performance focused identity. This new approach, gives organisations a scalable, fast and dynamic way of leading
that will enable them to fully harness the huge energy and commitment of their people.
This is a brief summary of this subject. You can download the full white paper here