A happy team can make the workday more enjoyable, but working with people you like may mask some important issues. A happy team doesn't necessarily mean you have a productive and creative team. Here are six signs your team may not be as perfect as you think.
1. You enjoy spending time with each other.
Enjoying your relationships and having fun is an added bonus after achieving incredible results, but it's not the reason to go to work or to stay in a job. Work isn't always pleasurable, and liking each other isn't a requirement for a team to function successfully. Stop trying to be liked and focus on being respected for the results you deliver.
2. You make fast decisions.
Be careful. It could be because you all think the same way and you will never achieve breakthrough thinking. Sometimes good decisions take longer; speed isn't always the criteria of success. Amazon's principle "disagree and commit" is at the cornerstone of their success. Sit in any meeting at Amazon and you will hear clear and vocal disagreement. But when it is time to make a decision, the energy is focused on implementing that decision, not fighting it.
3. You have been together for years.
While longevity has its benefits, a team that has few fresh ideas and perspectives will be stale. It's an issue I address early with executives: Who has been on the team, for how long, and in what roles? Nobody moving on is worse than everyone moving on.
4. You execute flawlessly.
While it is commonly talked about that failure leads to innovation and breakthrough ideas, actually encouraging and rewarding failure requires bold, candid conversations in the face of mistakes. If you are not making mistakes, you are not running fast enough.
5. You believe the CEO isn't ever going to leave.
It is delusional not to plan for the CEO's eventual departure. Too often, everyone believes they will remain in their current job forever. Perfect teams focus on building an exceptional pipeline of future leaders, from the CEO down. The average tenure of a Fortune 500 CEO is 4.6 years; 8.6 for all CEOs. That doesn't leave much time to prepare the replacement waiting in the wings. Without adequate preparation, you could end up like Twitter and Square and have to share a CEO.
6. The real decisions happen in the hallways.
You may pride yourself that your informal casual atmosphere allows for fast decisions in hallways and at happy hour, but teams suffer under such circumstances. Any team of eight or more people needs to have clear guidelines about how to make decisions and share information, otherwise you end up relying on the equivalent of playground gossip passing on critical ideas and opinions.
Making changes to a team can be almost as hard as moving to a new city. You know that making new connections will require you to break habits and get out of your comfort zone, which is exactly what is needed to provoke and inspire new ideas that produce rapid results.
What are you doing to galvanize your team today?