Compare team capabilities and the work to be done.

No team operates in a vacuum—the team’s efforts always exist within the context of the business. Thus, the work to be done represents an important lens through which to view (and interpret) the behavior and execution of each team member, and the team as a whole. Doing so can highlight fits and gaps that lead to greater awareness and improved intervention in pursuit of a successful team outcome.

When comparing the team’s capabilities to the work to be done, you must:
  1. Identify natural fits to the team’s most popular type of priorities.
  2. Identify balancers who fit less popular priorities.
  3. Identify gaps that pose a risk to team performance.

Let’s take a look at these steps in greater detail.

With the team’s strategic intent properly visible through a talent lens from the preceding activity, you should now identify the most predominant type of strategic priorities for the given team. Are the priorities mostly related to innovation, or to process creation and improvement? Are they focused on teamwork and employee-facing activities, or do they involve producing results in a highly disciplined manner?

Once you’ve identified the most popular type of priorities, you should identify which team members are naturally suited to do this type of work. Highly dominant and extroverted people, for example, tend to be a natural fit for objectives requiring innovation and dealing with uncertainty. By highlighting fits, you will amplify the voices of those most naturally suited to the team’s primary objectives.

While most teams have a predominant type of priorities—such as teamwork or process objectives—it’s also common for a team to pursue multiple types of objectives at the same time. In our last example, if most of the team’s objectives were of an innovation type, that same team may have stabilizing objectives around improving predictability, efficiency, or quality.

When this is the case, you should make a special effort to highlight the role of any balancers, as described earlier, who are a natural fit for this set of less popular priorities. Highlight the importance of their role on the team. Don’t let their efforts and natural style be drowned out by the demands of the team’s competing priorities, or by the behavioral styles of those naturally suited to those other priorities.

3. Identify gaps that pose a risk to team performance.

Finally, identify any behavioral traits that are lacking on your team that you’d benefit from. For example, let’s say your team is tasked with moving a legacy system into the cloud. The majority of the team members are behaviorally wired for results, discipline, process, and precision. This will help them get the job done. However, if they struggle to communicate, the project could go awry. To avoid problems, you might consider adding a team member who’s oriented toward teamwork. Their natural desire to work with and through others will ensure better communication and collaboration.

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