Why Do Some Team’s Succeed While Others Fail To Live Up To Their Potential?

by Bill Cornish and Paul Schneider

Sports teams exceeding all expectations have been in the news quite a bit lately. The Las Vegas Knights are in the Stanley Cup Finals and as a first-year professional expansion team, they are trying to win it all which has never been done. “Sister Jean” and the Loyola Ramblers captured national attention recently with their incredible NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four run. Not only did Loyola over achieve but for the first time in tournament history a 16 seed beat a number 1 seed…and they did it convincingly.

How is it that one team exceeds all reasonable expectations while another fails to live up to their potential?

Could the contributing factors that lead to the success of a sports team translate to success with your team at work?

At Kensington International we believe the same principles that apply to sports teams, apply to teams at work and senior management teams. Maximum success by a team only occurs when 100% trust and commitment is felt and displayed within the team. Without the full commitment of your teammates and the trust that the commitment is there the performance standard is already lowered.

With our clients we often leverage the model described in Patrick Lencioni’s New York Times best-seller, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. This well- accepted model highlights the importance of trust, a willingness to engage in productive conflict, commitment, accountability, and a focus on results.

Trust, commitment, team chemistry, and a willingness to hold each other accountable is precisely what has happened on the Las Vegas Knights this season. While the team didn’t have a marquee superstar due to the nature of the expansion draft, winger Pierre-Édouard Bellemare stated, “Our lack of a top dog is a feature, not a bug, of the team’s composition. “There is no superstar because we are all brand new in the team,” Bellemare said. “If the worst of us is saying to the best of us, ‘Hey, get it together,’ the other guy can only say, ‘Yes, I have to get it together.’ That helped all of us be successful together.”

How can a high performing team make a difference in the workplace?

We recently worked with a private equity-backed commercial water treatment company in fast decline. A fractured senior management team meant bankruptcy was on the horizon. Kensington completed a comprehensive assessment of the team, made recommendations, and provided ongoing coaching support that led to more cohesive leadership team. The company was sold at a significant multiple which far exceeded their investment expectations.

What can be done to improve the productivity and success of the teams within your organization?

Kensington International’s strategic research partner for 25+ years, the Management Research Group (MRG), is a global leader in assessment-based individual and organizational development with more than 30 years of experience assessing leaders and teams. MRG has developed a groundbreaking tool for measuring individual and team motivations, patterns, potential biases, and sources of misalignment.

Combined with the expert facilitation by Kensington International this tool helps teams better understand how to work together more effectively, unlock untapped potential for productivity and generate impressive results from a more engaged workforce.