One of our clients was a team at a European bank responsible for ‘transaction banking.’ Transaction banking handles the safe and efficient movement of cash and securities around the global financial system. It is in the business of facilitating the transactions that affect money flow, whether it is cash management, trade and supply-chain finance, or correspondence banking.
This bank was a medium-sized player in transaction banking, and realized that it couldn’t strive for leadership in all products. This had translated into a “ho-hum” sentiment within the team, feeling that the bank was very ‘average’ in many respects. After much discussion, the breakthrough was the “Vision for Leadership in Selected Products,” which was challenging but within the bank’s grasp. This created the necessary aspirational drive to break them out of their doldrums and coalesce around a worthy goal. It made all the difference in the world. Suddenly, the team felt that their existence had meaning. Essentially, the Team Vision gave them purpose, drive, and meaning.
The Team Vision also gave the team clear targets and focus as well as a roadmap for success. Strategy, tactics, and KPIs were then geared towards the selected products as identified in the Vision.
The Vision also became a useful tool for communications. Whenever someone asked the team what they were working on, team members could clearly cite the Vision and then talk about the targets and focus areas. When they made presentations to other stakeholders, they could always refer to the Vision, which allowed for more contextually rich and focused discussions. During its own staff meetings, focus on the Vision was very useful in decision making.
The Vision also created a much-needed sense of confidence and feeling of reassurance that the team was moving forward rather than ‘just doing their jobs.’ It gave them a reason to go the extra mile and strive for excellence. It was one of the factors that made members proud to be part of the team. It also reinforced the sense of being a ‘winning team’ as opposed to being just an execution team.
Douglas Gerber is Founder and CEO of Focus One, a consulting firm that helps leaders create High Performance Teams. After 23 years as a corporate executive, he developed a reputation for building successful teams. Later, as a consultant, he has personally worked with leaders from over 70 companies to develop their own winning Teams. Drawing from his own extensive background and 10 years of research, Douglas innovated the concept of “Team Quotient” (TQ). He is a thought leader in the area of team transformation. Learn more about Douglas and his upcoming book Team Quotient: How to Build High Performance Leadership Teams that Win Every Time on www.douglasgerber.com