The brutal truth is that you will never recruit a dream team to your company. Accomplished product and innovation professionals are not eagerly waiting for you to post a job opening. They are too busy being successful somewhere else.
However, don’t lose hope. There is a way out of this predicament. You can build a great team. Skills and behaviours like ownership and communication can be taught and learnt.
These Information Age skills many sound pretty standard in the modern office. In the world of product innovation, things are not moving fast. They are running at hyper speed.
All product innovation people are trying to catch up to modern customer expectations. These have accelerated due to the new standards set by Google, Apple and Amazon. We expect that content and services are instant, everywhere and always on.
Not to mention we are dealing with a constant change in the user experience. We now have augmented reality, artificial intelligence, blockchain and many other emerging technologies that are creating new possibilities.
So product innovation is not for the faint of heart. However, for those that are signing up for the *almost* impossible, here’s my tried and tested path to building teamwork.
Communicating too much is impossible. With so many notifications and meetings fighting for our attention, it’s easy to under-communicate in our distracted workplaces. Also, here’s the catch – lack of communication creates an information gap. Human nature is always filling in the gaps with negative sentiment. That’s just our survival technique kicking in.
With the communication flowing in, it’s crucial to discuss hard things. Like those awkward or emotional things, we’d prefer to ignore. When we open up and explain things that matter when we get the facts, we can all get on board to understand how we can contribute.
When we understand how we contribute to the broader goal we can take a leap of faith. We can discuss the things that matter. Our chances of finding a solution depend on trust. Is it safe to share my thoughts? Are the others listening? Can I be vulnerable? Make it safe, and you’ll get to the heart of the matter and find some surprising solutions.
Conflict is considered bad. However, it’s the opposite. When a team can have healthy disagreements, this means we have a chance of developing the best approaches. Why? Healthy debates force us to consider ideas beyond our horizon. To go beyond our view and see the world differently.
Regardless of politics and conflict, a team needs to commit. Even when some members don’t agree with an approach, they need to commit to decisions. This modest act is putting team progress before personal ego. Also, humility is the signal of excellent team culture.
When we hold ourselves to the promises, we are better. When we help others take ownership and responsibility, things go stratospheric. When every member does acts responsibly, we experience less unexpected problems and we can focus on making great products.
You get what you measure. So make sure you’re creating a culture of setting objectives and define the key results. Make sure you’ve aligned these to your broader vision and practical activities.
One plus one is three. To tackle big problems in the world with radical solutions – you’ll need many friends. So make collaboration an essential behaviour for all. Everything gets better when we’re all contributing.