Monday, June 13, 2016

The importance of team identity

Does your team have an identity? Something that defines them? Something that they can rally around when things get tough? Something that allows them to put a stake in the ground and affect change? Having a team identity provides many benefits that will make your directs happier at their jobs, more productive, and more efficient in their interactions.

Resiliency to change

Identity at it's simplest form means there's a sense of oneness or sameness. For example, my body is constantly changing. The cells I have today, the blood flowing through my veins, and the hair on my head is not the same as it was 10 years ago. But I am still me. When a team has an identity, they are able to be more resilient to change. People can come and go on the team without affecting the team as a whole. Team charters can change without causing a panic. Team identity is the glue that holds things together.

Stability when the crap hits the fan

When a team has identity they have the ability to weather a storm. They have the ability to lean on each other and be honest about mistakes because there's a shared value system. Teams that have an identity tend to help each other out when someone is struggling. Sometimes that takes the tough form of helping someone recognize they don't fit in with the team identity. But more often, it gives people a way to rally around their peers and help them be better.

Allows for a sense of ownership

When a team has an identity the members on the team feel a sense of ownership in keeping the identity in tack. People want to be involved, want to be included and want to be associated with positive results. A team with identity is more likely to have folks who are willing to step up and own the hard problems because "that what this team does."

Gives you a frame of reference from which to engage

When your team has an identity and things happen that are out of character, you have an easy way to engage and address the problem. You won't be fighting an uphill battle just trying to convince people that a problem exists. People will recognize that "this isn't us" or "this isn't how we do things" or "we don't make these kinds of mistakes". You'll be able to focus on working towards a solution much easier.

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