An extraordinary group achieves outstanding results while members experience a profound shift in how they see their world.
These amazing groups show up in all sectors… Our stories of these extraordinary groups came from organization leaders, information technology professionals, soldiers, software developers, trainers, managers, small business owners, community college counselors, doctors, nurses, event organizers, health care administrators, insurance executives…
Extraordinary groups exhibit 8 factors…
1. A compelling purpose that inspires and stretches members to make the group and its work a top priority.
Watch an extraordinary group at work and you will see that an inspiring and shared purpose surfaces repeatedly. Motivated by their purpose, members make their group a priority even in the face of other demands on their time. Members know that agreeing on a common purpose is critical to their work together.
2. Shared leadership that encourages members to take mutual responsibility for helping the group be successful.
Extraordinary groups are not top-down or leader-centric. Instead, leadership is expressed by many in the group; the lead role shifts with the subject at hand and the expertise required.
Members know they can initiate with a quest, task, issue or proposal. In these groups you will see members leading together; initiating, facilitating, structuring, suggesting, and doing all manner of things to help the group be effective.
3. Just-enough-structure to create confidence to move forward, but not so much as to become bureaucratic or burdensome.
Extraordinary groups will come up with ways of working that are governed more by outcome than structure. Members work together in ways that are collaborative, flexible, creative and adaptive.
They create just-enough-structure – at the time that is needed – to support purpose and outcomes.
4. Full engagement that results in all member jumping in with enthusiasm, sometimes passionately and chaotically, regardless of role. When fully engaged members readily contribute their knowledge, skills, and talents; they do not wait to be asked, rather than holding back, members may have trouble getting airtime – waiting for others to breathe so they can dive in.
5. Embracing differences so that group members see, value and use their diversity as a strength. They respect each other for who they are as human beings as well as for the skills, knowledge, and talent they apply to the group’s purpose.
6. Unexpected learning that translates into personal and group growth. Learning is central to these groups being transformed. Excited by the work before them, members are united in learning together and supporting one another.
7. Strengthened relationships among members characterized by trust, collegiality, and friendship.
New relationships grow form the work together and sometimes result in lasting friendships. This is not surprising given the quality and energy of the interactions that characterize such groups.
8. Great results, tangible and intangible. Results that surpass members’ expectations regularly happen in extraordinary groups.
Keep this list of indicators at hand. Watch an extraordinary group at work and you will be busy checking them off… Whether the groups were for profit or not, involving volunteers or employees, fact-to-face or virtual, these eight indictors emerged.