Listening to everyone’s excitement yesterday over the win of the NBA title of Cleveland over Oakland was great. I thought the sportscaster I listened to made a very astute observation. While everyone believes LeBron James is a great player, maybe the best in the league, this person’s observation was that Oakland was made up of better players but that Cleveland actually has a better team. But what doe this have to do with the importance of team dynamics?
That’s a great comment and one that is likely quite true.
Team Dynamics Impact Project Success
Team dynamics are super important to the success of every company and every project. In fact, you can make the case that team dynamics are the most important aspect of managing as success project, whether you are using standard project management, agile, lean, or any one of a variety of these methodologies. Yes, they can be quite complicated, but they can be learned. Here at RMC, we’ve taught thousands of students these project management methodologies for many years.
Team Dynamics Can be Complex
Team dynamics are complex, which is a lot different that working with and learning a complicated system. Complicated systems can be difficult, but they can be learned and they are predictable, whereas complex systems like team dynamics are not predictable and tend to evolve within the system and changes over time as it evolves.
Building High Performance Teams
This is why we have been working with individuals and teams to help build skills necessary to build high performing teams. Courses that deal with building facilitation skills, leadership, team enablement, and many others can be found here. Like Oakland, many teams are made up with great players, “Type A players” so to speak. Being an “A Player” is enough for a great team. People have to have great character traits, be able to leave their ego outside the room, and walk in with respect and humility for others. That’s the begin of a great team, an environment that allows other to grow their talents and let them percolate to the top. Do that enough and you just may come home with a NBA win.
- PMP® Exam Change 2021 - May 5, 2020
- Manager vs. Leader: Which Are You? - October 16, 2019
- Two Methods to Calculate the Forward and Backward Passes in a Network Diagram - March 22, 2018
OK, problem. The author has it completely backwards. I happen to watch a great deal of sports, and this year’s NBA finals was compelling because the opposite was true–Golden State is widely regarded to have the better “team concept” (Currey, Green, Thompson, etc) while Cleveland has the best individual player (LeBron James) who often plays selfishly. What made the finals one for ages this year is that the worst “team” actually won. This series proved that the best individual team member can play selfishly and still carry his inferior team to a win. Not the greatest lesson for a company that teaches team building to promote.
I feel like the author of this article watched about four minutes of the final series game before he wrote this.
Ok. You are correct in that I do not watch a lot of sports and that is particularly true of basketball. I was relying on the sportscaster’s comments which are the opposite of yours. This will play out in the future and if you are correct, they will not prevail in the future. Teams cannot win consistently based on the performance of one player. Whatever performance gains are made can only be marginal. On the other hand, teams that work well together can have dramatic gains in performance.
Let me explain by example. A while back I managed a group of test engineers who were tasked with doing final testing of very sophisticated test equipment used in the semiconductor industry. The average test time to complete a system was 800 hours and systems were always completed be 1 of 2 “rock stars”.
After a month in the role I transferred (promoted) the “rock stars” to engineering and had each member of the team complete their own system. A strange thing happened. They began sharing notes, procedures, and fixes. In the beginning we took big hits but after a year, systems were going through in 80 hours. The following year, we drove our findings back into the manufacturing process, assembly and module test. After the second year, we were at 40 hours.
None of that would have happened if we left the “rack stars” in place.
Great companies realize that developing great teams is really important. They hire for character traits like respect, humility, honesty, attitude, and compatibility with others. They realize it is easier to teach skills than it is to teach character.
I thank you for your comments and will make it a point to follow Cleveland next year to see how they do. We will find out whether LeBron improved the actual team dynamic and performance or whether he is selfishly carrying the whole thing himself.