I was just reading an article titled “5 Ways Leaders Must Build a Family Environment to Achieve Excellence.”
The article cites a McKinsey study which learned that family-controlled companies outperform their competitors and extracts some lessons for creating great teams, including:
- Give Teams a Sense of Ownership
- Everyone Must Protect One Another
- Instill Values to Enable a Trusted Culture
- Encourage People to Speak Up
- Develop a Succession Plan
My sense is that 2, 3 and 4 are the trickiest for a few reasons:
- In larger organizations, people form cliques based on a variety of factors – seniority, projects, function – and it’s hard to get people to see beyond their own clan to get to that place of “having each other’s backs.” Cliques thwart teams.
- All too often, a team (sometimes only the senior leadership team) will go off on a retreat and come up with values. It’s fun to come up with aspirational words; it’s a lot harder to live those principles back to the office and infuse them into the organization.
- Just as fiercely as families will defend each other, they could also be prone to fighting. In situations where teams are close-knit, there’s an emotional investment. While camaraderie can lead to people being more honest, that forthright feedback can also lead to hurt feelings and bruised egos.
What’s been your experience?
Have you worked on a team where it felt like family?
Did that environment lead to positive or negative outcomes?