The work looks after itself…teams tend not to

The work is always there. It shouts loudly, demands our attention, and takes our energy. But once the structures, the people and the plans are in place it tends to look after itself. If the light shines brightly on the work, the team often drifts into the shadows.

Thinking by Jim Lusty

Meetings, communications, and away days tend to focus on the work, be that past, present or future.

Team culture, team vibe, team mojo, team energy…we’ve all been in or observed a team that’s cooking on gas. The envy of the business.

Everyone has each other’s back. Kindness and respect are married with a shared purpose and behavioural standards. But most of all, it’s a fun environment where people feel as though they can be themselves and own the future.

But every team could do with a little more love. You’ll be spending way more time with your work team than you will your loved ones and friends, but when we’re busy and the focus is on the work, it’s easy to neglect the relational energy of the group. That sense of connection and belonging is critical to collaboration, creativity and doing great work. It’s also selfishly super important for our self-worth and wellbeing. 

We used to be able to take team connection a little for granted. Just being in the same office week after week, spending time with each other, at the coffee machine, around the edges of meetings, at our desks, out for lunches or an early evening drink inevitably built relationships and a sense of togetherness.

These days we need to prioritise and engineer these experiences, otherwise you just end up with a group of people who work together, face to face or virtually in a dull and monochrome environment.

10 years ago, Google ran project Aristotle, to understand what made a great team tick. They looked at 180 teams across Google and collected loads of data.  A fast summary of this vast project is as follows; There was no data to support the fact that a team needs a particular mix of skills, backgrounds, or people, in fact ‘who was in the team’ was not important. It found the best teams were the ones that listened to each other, were sensitive and empathetic to each other. The finding was that psychological safety was the most important factor in the best teams. 

You don’t create a great team by being busy and always looking at the work agenda. You need to step back and look at what the team needs. And you won’t go far wrong by creating some meaningful time out to connect, invest in the relational energy and have some fun. 

I’m not talking about the upcoming Christmas party, although that’s always a good thing. 

I’m talking about face-to-face time, ideally off site and even better for a couple of days, to solely invest in the team. Clients often bring Upping your Elvis in to help facilitate a fun, engaging, high energy experience that allows people to connect in deeper and more meaningful ways.

It’s an energetic reboot and people love it. 

A chance to have meaningful conversations, opportunities to properly appreciate each other, to talk about what makes each other tick, all whilst building capability to elevate team performance. But most importantly, to have some fun. There’re a million research reports on this. They all say the same thing…a happy team is a successful team. For those who want stats, you’ll be 20% more productive if you make it fun. 

So, if you’re team vibe has been a little neglected, you’ve gone through a load of change, you have some big challenges ahead in 2024 or you just want to re energise your team, get in contact as we’d love to help!


Jim, Chris, Neil, and the rest of the Elvis team xxxx