Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Opposites Don’t Attract … But They Do Positively Drive Team Success

Guest Blogger: Adrian Wood - Co-Founder, Shadowmatch USA

My thanks to April for allowing us at Shadowmatch to write a guest blog this week! I thought I might comment on how the difference in team behaviors can have a dramatic impact on success.

The different working behaviors of teams are like the different poles on a magnet except that different behaviors actually tend to repel (drive conflict) in teams vs. attract. It’s the single biggest reason that teams fail: when they are split between “north and south” in the way that they approach work.

However, if you can get your team to understand their polarity and see how they are different, then something wonderful happens: they start to leverage each other in ways that drive productivity and efficiency across the team. In other words, they stop acting as individuals and start to work as a cohesive group.

At Shadowmatch, we saw this in real life at a Fortune 500 sales team. The team consisted of pairs of account execs focused on large corporate prospects. What was it about the pairs that determined success?

·         Pairs with different working behaviors successfully divided work between relationship and tasks, detail and high level, aggressive and thoughtful tactics. They were always able to adapt to their prospects.

·         Pairs with similar working behaviors competed for activities and often “got in the way of each other” trying to accomplish the same goals in the same way. They also had “blind spots” that prevented them from connecting with different types of prospects.

In your teams, you may not think you want behaviors that potentially drive conflict, but if you look past the short-term hurdle, you’ll see the long-term success that’s possible by embracing the opposing poles.

Adrian Wood
Co-Founder, Shadowmatch USA

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