High performance teams, jelled teams, killer teams or in short, great teams, require a considerable amount of energy to build and sustain. However, their complete and utter destruction can happen in a matter of hours, or less. This happens most often when outside forces, not understanding the team’s dynamic, impose constraints or demands that make the contracts that took so long to negotiate, unenforceable.
The quickest way to ensure the team’s destruction is to change the Natural Leader, either voluntarily or involuntarily, without any preparation or consideration for who will assume this role. Organizations must learn to have a better ear for team dynamics. In many ways the Natural Leader embodies the team. He or she created it, nourished it, and maintained and enforced the contracts. They often command more loyalty from the troops than some bullshit organizational abstraction that won’t hesitate to downsize them out of existence at the first sign that the quarterly numbers are in jeopardy.
Fuck with the dynamics of a successful team, the one working on the latest iteration of your killer app revenue machine, and you have just screwed the pooch royally. Team implosions in the software industry are legend. One minute the magic is so palpable that you can breathe it like pure oxygen, the next minute the fire you started consumes it and you are left choking to death. Now you see it and now you don’t.
I will pay more for the ability to deal with people than for any ability under the sun.
—John D. Rockefeller