“We live in unusually tough times”

This is what I heard the leader say as we worked with her top team to prepare for the year ahead.

She’s right. These are unusually tough times. There is plenty of uncertainty around and this makes teamwork more important than ever before.

But not all teams are equal.

Those able to convert adversity into opportunity have an advantage … they possess a unique combination of mindsets. These make it possible for them to thrive in tough times.

So, what are these mindsets?

From close observation working with winning teams 5 key mindsets emerge.

1. They have an obsessive market focus.

The founding belief of the team is that they exist to serve others. Every team has a customer that it needs to satisfy and delight. Their relevance comes from this obsession to create value for others. It’s this that establishes the purpose and legitimacy of the team.

They know that the moment they ‘start doing business with themselves’ irrelevance looms.

2. They crave simplicity.

Bureaucracy is the antithesis of simplicity. And excessive bureaucracy is an acute form of organisational cancer. Its effect is to simultaneously erode the human spirit while slowing the organisation down. Increased barriers to communication, a general slowing down of the pace and velocity of the organisation, and growing levels of stress and frustration ar all warning signs.

It’s a simple consequence that the more complexity there is on the inside the less energy and creativity there is available for creating value on the outside. So winning teams work tirelessly to keep things simple.

3. Membership matters most.

Who is on the team makes the team. This is baked into the mindset of how a winning team thinks and behaves. Getting team membership right affects both the depth and quality of skills available, but it also has a profound impact on the ethos, spirit and culture of the team.

Skills and spirit … both are necessary to win. Both are essential to forge the character of the team and to perform under pressure and succeed when times are tough and demanding. Get this one wrong and tough times truly are tough.

4. They play well with others.

Winning teams understand that they operate inside an ecosystem.  Winning does not mean at all costs, nor at the cost of others. Rather it means actively participating in unlocking higher performance and morale everywhere else in the organisation.

This wider definition of winning disempowers the trap of silo thinking and harnesses the power of collaboration, innovation and adaptability, making it a crucial strategy for dealing with complex and quickly changing environments.

5. Ownership is everything.

In tough times people have to make things happen. Promises must be kept, disappointments and setbacks overcome and problems must be solved. In general people love admiring problems. They walk around the fringes of it, calling it to the attention of others. On one level this may be clever, but it’s certainly not credible.

Credibility comes from being in the arena. From taking ownership of what is in front of you and dealing with it. The people on a team who are valued the most are those that solve problems and get things done.

The ownership mindset is indeed everything in tough times.

So, if you’re facing headwinds in your organisation and are not sure how to respond please think deeply about these mindsets and the questions below:

Turning adversity into opportunity is not easy. It requires courage and a very firm resolve.

Cultivating these 5 mindsets is a great way to start.

Watch this blog in our Video Library. Click here for this and other fantastic resources.

We love hearing from you. Please comment below or email me at grant@leadershipworks.co.za.

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