I’ve recently finished reading one of the best business books I’ve read in a long time: Team of Teams. In it, General Stanley McChrystal shares his story of how he transformed the Joint Special Operations Task Force to respond to the ever changing and decentralized network called Al Qaeda. He led this transformation through a series of changes, including instilling a ‘shared consciousness’.
His method of shared consciousness is described as, ” a level of transparency created across an organization to deliver ’contextual understanding.’” This type of understanding often requires personnel across an organization to have access to information that was previously only available to seniors.’1 General McChrystal wasn’t afraid to provide that context; he shared information, plans, goals, progress and every detail possible with the entire team. Information, plans, maps, and details were posted where everyone could see them. Everyone had and understood their common purpose. By posting and sharing information (to the extent possible), he created a team of shared consciousness. All team members had access to the same information and had the same understanding of goals, mission, and objective. While the general was made aware of decisions, and was brought into decision-making, when fast decisions needed to be made, leaders were empowered to make them.
So what can we business leaders learn from General McChyrystal, and how can we take these lessons to our work of leading teams, engaging and empowering employees? To respond to today’s ever changing, fast changing business dynamics and competitive pressures, we need to change how we work. A traditional hierarchy, that is slow moving and bureaucratic, won’t enable our ability to be successful – a flatter organization, where teams are driving change and are empowered, and where decision making is faster, and organizations are flatter – this type of organization will respond faster to competitive pressures and create positive results. This type of team structure will enable you, as a leader, to create a common purpose that your team is striving for, and that common goal that will unite your team.
As leaders it’s up to us to define goals at the highest level, and then communicate those goals to all of the organization. I believe most people want to work in teams, and want to work towards a common goal, or a common purpose. They want to know that their work matters. They want to be making a contribution to the greater good. Whether that’s caring for patients, innovating new technologies, delivering amazing customer service, or resolving issues. How many of your employees are heads down every day, most likely working hard, but not aware of how their work is contributing to the greater good? In my consulting days, I worked with several organizations and so often I saw this; people who were working hard, but not really sure how their work contributed to the greater good, to the organization’s goals.
And it’s not just businesses that can benefit. Healthcare organizations can benefit from the teamwork, shared consciousness, and common purpose as well. Leading healthcare organizations like Intermountain Healthcare (a PeopleFluent customer, by the way) are improving patient outcomes with teamwork.
Cloud-based talent management systems can support your efforts to create a shared consciousness, articulate a common purpose, and enable empowered execution. Solutions like the Mirror Experience can deliver to your team an environment to create a shared consciousness and document common purpose, a place to share goals, ideas, and collaborate how to drive to their execution. Through PeopleFluent Performance Management you can create organizational goals, and distribute them to teams and individuals throughout the organization. And through goals, mentor programs, continuous feedback, and succession planning, you can empower your employees to drive the strategy execution.
Take the opportunity to learn from amazing leaders, like General McChrystal to create shared consciousness, create common goals, and empower your employees to execute on those goals for the greater common good. Your team and your organization will be better for it.
The right technology partner can help you enable a culture of shared consciousness and better teamwork. Learn why PeopleFluent’s award-winning performance management software could be the best choice for your organization.