Back in my consulting days, I led a project where our task was to help a client restructure their legal department. Over the course of this project, I had the chance to work closely with a legal expert and, over the long nights and weekends, we developed a good working relationship. At the end of the engagement, we were talking about what we were doing next, and I told him I would be heading off to another project with another client in a different sector with an entirely new team.
He couldn’t quite believe it and he asked me a question that I remember to this day: “How are you able to bring different people together, who have never worked with each other, form a high performing team for the duration of the job and then go away and do it all again with a completely new group of people?”
It was something that I’d never really given a second thought to. Indeed, I took it for granted – until then.
How did we do that? What does it take to build it? Is it replicable?
The answer, of course, is that it is replicable. Not easy, but certainly replicable. I see it at my firm and I see it at other organizations that I engage with.
I believe it’s to do with culture - strong ones that are underpinned not simply by money, but by a greater goal.
I believe it’s to do with focus – driving towards a single minded outcome that everyone has chooses to rally around.
I believe it has to do with aspirations – driven by a leadership that emphasizes service (in all of its forms, to clients, each other, our environment (defined broadly).
It’s backed by a determination to bring in, develop and keep the very best of the best.
And I believe its to do with hard work. A commitment on the part of everyone to do what it takes to make it happen. Whatever ‘it’ is.
It takes a special type of organization to develop that sort of an environment, that sort of culture. But its doable, and its replicable.
Not easy, but replicable.