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Three Essential Ingredients in Successful Teams
by Duncan Brodie

A team exists to deliver results. We have all seen or experienced the benefits of being part of a team. We can recall that it was challenging but there was a real determination to get the right result. It can often seem like results just happen. While there will be situations or opportunities that arise by chance, success in a teams does not happen by chance. What three ingredients must teams have to achieve success?


It is hard to imagine achieving anything without skills. Successful teams recognise that achieving results is not just about mastering one area. To prosper they need a range of complimentary skills.

Firstly they need the right technical skills. Having technical skills across a wide range of disciplines is highly unlikely. For example, how confident would you be if you were introduced to a surgeon who was the technical expert in hip replacements and then being told that same surgeon was the hospital's technical expert in IT, Accounting and Human Resources? The challenge is to find those with the complimentary technical skills and blend them together.

Secondly, teams need to have the skills to problem solve otherwise they will just become stuck when faced with the inevitable and sometimes unexpected obstacles they will face.

The third area of skill is interpersonal skills. This includes areas like communicating, influencing, getting others on board with the team's ideas and dealing with conflict to name just a few.


Teams are generally faced with one or more performance challenges. These for example, could be related to delays in discharging patients from a hospital, high error rates in a production process, problems with staff retention or delivery delays. Commitment in a team is about:

• Agreeing a specific set of goals

• Agreeing an approach to achieving those goals

• Having a clear purpose


We are all familiar with the concept of being accountable for what we deliver individually. In teams this personal accountability still exists but mutual accountability is another vital addition in successful teams. Mutual accountability brings with it risk and requires high levels of trust, respect and commitment. This presents a challenge for many teams and requires new ways of thinking and behaving.

At the end of the day teams focusing on a particular performance challenge can achieve more than one individual on their own. The challenge is how to develop and embrace these three essential ingredients and incorporate them into the way the team works.

Duncan Brodie may be contacted at
Duncan Brodie of Goals and Achievements Ltd (G&A) works with individuals, teams and organisations to develop their management and leadership capability. Sign up for his free e-course and monthly newsletter at


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