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Business Leadership Teams

Why teams get stuck?

Rohan from alearningaday does a fantastic job at decoding the reasons why teams at times aren’t able to make progress on a problem. He shares 3 core reasons:

  1. Unclear problem statement
  2. Misaligned incentives
  3. Absence of structure (clear requirements, roles and responsibilities, meeting cadence, processes to hold people accountable)

Honestly, he’s spot on. These challenges may have left thousands of teams and projects dead in the tracks just this past week! But what got me thinking was this — how much control do teams have on these aspects? Quite minimal, in my opinion. Sure, they can have a some influence at the time of defining the problem statement but if the leadership hasn’t bought into the problem, they just stay stuck!

More than anything else, I believe, this is a leadership issue. And while Rohan did rule out aspects like competence or intentions, I think they’re both critical to a team’s performance. But the onus is onto the leadership to create that space that allows the team to identify, define, and map out of plan of action.

In my opinion, competent leaders rarely would let such an opportunity go. They go all in to not just support their teams but also equip them for success. And that’s where appropriate incentives and structure come in the place, which, if missing warrants a query into the leader’s intention (or perhaps ignorance).

But, what can you do about it? If you’re a leader in charge of teams that are stuck, it’s clear — get your act together and figure out ways to equip your team. It’s about them and not you. But if they fail, it’s certainly about you!

If you’re part of a team that’s stuck and if you have a boss who can’t (or won’t) lead, it’s time to level up. Take the leadership and do what’s needed to attain clarity, insights, and structure. And while it seems there isn’t a tangible incentive to deliver this project, both you and your team will find this new experience a whole lot fulfilling.

Would it be easy? I don’t think so. Heck, you might even fail! And yes, there will be resistance but if you’re committed to the bigger picture, you’ll find a way to make it all work. The outcome doesn’t have to be a masterpiece, it just has to work. I know, that sounds vague, but the only way you would know is by doing it. So, make it happen!