There are few things in business that are respected as much as experience. With top executive stints at Nabisco, Campbell Soup and Avon, Douglas Conant boasts about as much as anyone. Over a 40-year career, Conant had the opportunity to witness and ponder business from every angle, but he settled on teamwork as one of the most important dynamics to success. In a recent post on teamwork, he wrote: “I’ve had the opportunity to think a lot about this crucial leadership question: What are the ingredients to a successful team?”
What are the secrets to high-performing teams? According to Conant, it comes down to the three C’s.
Competence. It might seem obvious, but the first ingredient to a high-performing team is whether the team has the capacity and competence to do the job. Although the business has a process in place to attract, hire and cultivate talent, it’s not always guaranteed that team members have the right skill sets to succeed.
Character. Competence is a start, but it’s not enough. According to Conant, team members also have to have character. Team members with questionable ethics or who undermine teammates to make themselves look good need to be weeded out so they don’t poison the team. The most important question to ask about team members: Can I count on them and can they count on each other? A high-performing team has to have trust in each other.
Chemistry. It’s not easy to measure, but it may be the most important trait of the team. Conant notes that in his experience, teams with chemistry require two components: they have complementary skill sets and they care about each other. Having one of the two is not enough, but teams that have both are “poised to make magic.”
The three C’s don’t apply only to teams, but also to leaders. High-performing teams expect their leaders to also bring to the table the same, if not more, levels of competence, character and chemistry to create what Conant calls “an elegant symbiosis” that allows everyone to win.
Source: Douglas R. Conant is an internationally renowned business leader, New York Times bestselling author, keynote speaker and social media influencer with more than 40 years of leadership experience at world-class global companies.