Why is it that some people are consistently chosen for high-profile project teams?
Most of us became familiar with the concept of picking teams during childhood. Whether it was a captain on the playground, a music director or a coach making the selection, the common goal was to assemble a team that would excel.
To some extent, the concept of picking teams learned in our school years lives on in the working world. Leaders are focused on excellence when they select team members. They are looking for individuals who will drive the project to a successful finish. They want to win.
Teams win or lose for many reasons: Leadership, innovative thinking, collaboration, ability to express and embrace different ideas, group dynamics and ability to meet individual and group deadlines. These factors and others influence whether project teams accomplish their objectives or fail to achieve their goals.
Project teams today are often comprised of members from multiple organizations or functional groups within an overall enterprise. The team or project leader may have accountability for the results without having direct management responsibility for any member of the project team. We all recognize the importance of the team leader chosen for such a critical role, but what about the team members selected for these high-profile assignments?
Team and organizational leaders look for employees within their areas of responsibility to ensure they choose the strongest contributors for critical projects. They want individuals who can effectively manage working in a matrix environment while delivering on project requirements. Volunteering or being assigned to a project team is a great opportunity to show what you can do in a team setting and sets up the potential for career growth as you demonstrate your capabilities on key projects.
Seven success factors valued by leaders in members they assign to key projects are:
- Subject matter expertise—Members are most often chosen based on their knowledge and experience. They are expected to actively contribute based upon their expertise.
- Communications capability—People who can disagree without being disagreeable make good team members as they can manage their emotions and relationships. Team members also need to communicate back to their functional or direct managers for planning and coordination of timing, requirements or other key aspects of the team as appropriate.
- Accountability—Delivering within the time frame and budget specified.
- Analytics proficiency—Critical projects and teams will hit roadblocks; people have their own perspectives on what is going right and wrong. Valued team members are able to identify the issues and use information and facts as opposed to emotions to overcome roadblocks.
- Keen judgment—Team members who know when and how to escalate matters, get others involved or take individual action as appropriate stand out.
- Sense of urgency—Demonstrating a sense of urgency in addressing issues and meeting commitments is valued and appreciated by leaders.
- Can-do attitude and will to win—Leaders want people on their project teams who exude a can-do attitude and have a will to win. Positive attitudes help drive project teams to successful outcomes.
Leaders identify the top contributors on their teams not only by the quality and content produced, but also by reputations earned while working with others. Team members who demonstrate these seven success factors get noticed. Often, they become team leaders and move into higher levels of organizational leadership as these key attributes work well no matter where or at what level people work.
Executive coaches help organizations develop leaders for bigger roles and high potential employees for leadership positions. They also help critical project teams get off to a strong start or can help teams that have stalled at critical junctures during their assignments get back on track.
How can executive coaching help your organization or project teams achieve what’s next?
Lance Hazzard, CPCC, ACC, is a certified Intelligent Leadership Executive Coach helping people and organizations successfully achieve what’s next. He is Executive Coach and President at Oppnå® Executive & Achievement Coaching. Find out more about Lance and Oppnå® Coaching at oppnacoaching.com