There is no ‘I’ in team, but there should be!

The Science of Self

By Ron J. Bonnstetter & Bill J. Bonnstetter, Target Training International

Self-awareness is the No. 1 predictor of executive success, according to a 2010 Cornell University study. But how do you gain these self-reflective insights? Your spouse might suggest you simply listen to their advice. In all seriousness, there is growing evidence that self-awareness is crucial to your success.

Let’s take a moment and identify some of the major components we need to know about ourselves to be effective communicators. All of us bring our own set of professional skills, education and intelligence to the job. But we have other personal attributes that play an even bigger role in our daily lives, and many people don’t fully grasp their importance. These include the why of what we do, our motivators, and how we exhibit these attributes through our behaviors, plus a set of soft skills that are crucial, depending on the task.

Dean Newlund, CEO of Mission Facilitators International Inc., suggests an honest self-assessment is required to gain these insights, followed by careful reflection and sharing what we’ve learned with others.

Let’s examine this process in the context of team building.

Secret to Team Building

Businesses constantly pull people together to work on specific projects. Most often, the criteria for team selection is based on subject matter expertise or administrative roles. Rarely is time spent on identifying the soft skills among members and how this will ultimately impact the team’s outcome.

This approach reminds me of the million-dollar story. If you want to have a million dollars stashed away for the future, the first thing you need to do is get a million dollars. Obviously this silly statement is missing a step. How do you get the million?

Team building has a similar missing link that may not be as obvious.

Each team member brings to the team much more than knowledge of a particular subject. They possess unique behaviors, motivators and even a set of soft skills that can make or break a team’s end product. Research has shown that taking the time to ensure a balance in behavioral styles within a team ensures that each crucial step from creation to completion is covered.

To achieve well-rounded results for any project, the four primary functions of a team should be represented by the team members. These include:

1. A conductor who is a direct, results-oriented agent of change with a sense of urgency.

2. An analyzer who is a critical listener, concerned with quality and attention to detail.

3. A supporter who is adaptable, steady and accommodating.

4. A promoter, who projects confidence and explains away any concerns.

With these roles in mind, analyzing the behavioral style of each team member—preferably through self-assessment—will empower teams to be more efficient and reach goals quicker, avoiding the curse of failed projects, groupthink, power struggles, or teams that are ready to work but lack a vision for the end process.

Bill Bonnstetter is chairman of TTI Success Insights and Target Training International Ltd. Dr. Ron Bonnstetter is vice president of research and development for TTI, based in the Scottsdale Airpark at 17785 N. Pacesetter Way. More:;; @ttiresearch; @TTI_SI;