L’équipe performante, une savante alchimie


XV 2Tout dirigeant d’entreprise, manager, chef de projet rêve d’avoir des équipes efficaces capables de délivrer des performances exceptionnelles mais rares sont ceux qui y arrivent vraiment car c’est plus difficile qu’il n’y parait. Il ne s’agit pas seulement de réunir un groupe de personnes et de lui donner quelque chose à  faire pour constituer une équipe. Pour qu’une équipe existe trois attributs indispensables doivent pouvoir être observés dans un groupe. Tout d’abord l’existence d’un objectif commun connu et partagé, ensuite la présence dans le groupe des compétences complémentaires nécessaires à la réalisation de la mission et enfin des modalités et règles de fonctionnement générant l’interdépendance des membres de l’équipe. Si de surcroît des liens forts et une profonde connaissance réciproque nourrit l’empathie et l’altruisme des membres de l’équipe, alors celle-ci devient très forte et tous les espoirs de performance exceptionnelle sont permis. Ce sont là des conditions nécessaires à la constitution d’une équipe mais elles ne sont pas suffisantes pour que la performance soit au rendez-vous. Pour que l’équipe produise des résultats il faut aussi que la stratégie définie ainsi que l’organisation mise en place et les modalités de fonctionnement soient adaptées à l’atteinte du but commun défini. C’est le rôle du dirigeant de définir les conditions qui permettront le succès. Sa responsabilité est de comprendre l’environnement dans lequel il joue et de porter en permanence son regard au strabisme divergent à la fois sur l’extérieur pour en observer les évolutions et à l’intérieur pour s’assurer de la continuelle adaptation de son organisation aux enjeux. C’est lui aussi qui doit être capable d’inventer ou de permettre que soient définies les approches spécifiques qui permettront à ses équipes de faire la différence dans l’action pour remporter les victoires qu’il attend d’elles. La réussite ou l’échec d’une équipe est donc toujours le fruit d’une alchimie savante entre d’une part l’énergie potentielle du noyau constitué et les forces extérieures qui viennent perturber son fonctionnement et modifier son homéostasie. S’il l’on observe l’échec du XV de France avec ce regard il devient évident que celui-ci n’est pas le fait d’une seule personne ou d’un collectif déficient mais bien le fruit d’un système dysfonctionnel.

« Is it a revolt? No Your Majesty it’s a revolution »

revolutionCivilizations, organizations, people, are evolving through crisis not through breakdown. The distinction between crisis and breakdown could appear trivial. It’s not. A crisis is a change and a breakdown is not. Both of them are often brutally encountered without warning or preparation. Both need to be urgently addressed to avoid further unforeseen developments. Both are generating stress and tensions.But they are definitely not the same.When facing a breakdown we can fix it rapidly to recover the previous situation and go on as if nothing had happened. This blip is soon forgotten and life goes on as usual. The crisis doesn’t allow this comeback to a previous state. The specific nature of the crisis is that there is no possible fix. There will never be again the same previous situation. The situation has changed definitely and that’s generally really scary for all the protagonists. The emotional content of the crisis has triggered psychological reactions that have modified the system. This is telling us how we should manage crisis to avoid being disqualified in the eyes of our people by treating  the situation as if it was a mere breakdown. When dealing with a crisis we go through several emotional phases very similar to the Kübler-Ross model. At first the unthinkable phase. We are in denial and tend to reconnect the situation with what we know, our own certainties, and try to quickly bring solutions instead of establishing a diagnosis. The second phase of revolt is triggered by the impossibility to apply what we used to do in the past. The situation requires to reinvent a new solution but we are not ready for that and we generally tend to oversimplify,reduce the complexity and stick to opinions instead of facts. To overcome this, we need to release our grip and accept the difficulty. In this third phase it’s important not to give ground to paralysis or agitation to be able to reach the fourth phase, the solution/creation phase where creativity and collective intelligence is called-in to shape the future and generate a new energy. It’s important in such crisis situation to diagnose what forces are at work in the different stages of the change and to apply the appropriate solutions to recover and find a new equilibrium.

Becoming a global leader

global leader Companies love to present themselves as global. They are not in fact. They generally remain what they are i.e: large national corporations extending their business abroad to cover if possible most of the world economical areas and benefit from their growing economies. No, indeed the ones that are global are these managers and leaders shipped abroad to drive businesses they have been assigned to.
Let’s imagine you’re one of them. You’ve just been sent on the other side of the world, far away from home and the company headquarters. They gave you a nice package. You’re now costing twice your standard cost to the company. You’d better adjust quickly and start delivering. Where do you start? You don’t understand or speak the local language. It seems they don’t speak yours and you’ll soon be in a situation where the only way to communicate is English. English really? No! Globish is maybe a more accurate way to describe the idiom you share with locals. 200 words, some basic grammar and here you are, presenting the company plans, the strategy and the operational plan that needs to be implemented with them, the locals…They stare at you…
You’ve not been prepared to that type of situation. The intercultural training you received ( at best) before leaving is already far away and seems if culturally accurate, not very useful in your daily interaction with your team. You can’t even remember their weird names or pronounce them properly. And they all look the same to you. Don’t panic. Between the video-conference you just had this morning at 5.00 AM with the headquarter asking for a progress status on your business plan (!), your management team meeting and a visit to a customer with a sales manager you hardly know, you had the time to reflect on the situation and to organize yourself for success. Your recipe may be the right one:
Adopting a friendly demeanor and being easy to access seems to be the right thing to do for bounding with your environment and accelerate social adaptation .
Showing curiosity for the local way of doing things , trying to understand the reason why this is done and respecting it before delivering some creative way to change the habits with a lot of empathy for your counterparts efforts to adapt, will build the necessary trust among your team to start moving in the right direction.
For sure since your arrival, you’ve met some difficulties. Misunderstanding led to errors and frustration. You became angry but refrain from showing it. You’ve learned to deal with ambiguity. What they understood was not really what you had in mind. They did what they thought you wanted them to do without asking for clarification. Now you’ve learned to ask them to reformulate your request but you also learned to be better at communicating your expectation.
Progressively you adjust to your environment and they adjust to your requests and leadership style. It’s becoming easier, mutual trust and understanding is building up, you’re not anymore having this feeling of permanent confrontation with adverse forces. You’ve learned to deal with the difference and discovered a possible harmony with your environment without letting go your operational requirements.
You’re becoming a global leader.