The dictionary defines an alloy as a metal created from a mix of different metallic elements to become stronger, more flexible, or more resistant to corrosion. Alloyed teams have many of these same properties.
An alloy made from more than one type of material. Together they combine, improving performance of the metal in one or more dimensions. Diverse teams too form the raw materials for making strong, alloyed teams. Alloyed teams are critical to building strong, resilient organizations.
An alloy is made from multiple materials collected together in different proportions. Adding energy or some other kind of catalyst, the materials interact, mix, and bind with one another in new ways, to form new connections and new capabilities. Teams can be like this.
Like a catalyst, a crucible event, as used by the USMC to cap basic training, can be the energy that helps forge new connections, new discoveries, and a sense that all team members are critical elements in the formula defining the Team.
In corporations we need to help teams of individuals find ways to: work better together as team, think like a team, and work toward objectives as a team. These days, thanks to the speed of business and the varied business context we all work in, alloyed teams are more critical than ever. The problems and obstacles teams need to solve or overcome are increasingly complex.
An alloyed team is characterized by internal trust, deference to internal experts, and high levels of meaningful communication. They are a force multiplier in an environment of business uncertainty and continuous change.
Alloyed teams allow an organization to meet new challenges by drawing on a large pool of diverse approaches and varied perspectives on solutions. In operation, these teams provide broad-based inputs to spark creativity, and situational talent to draw on for leadership in different circumstances.
Adapting mindsets, leadership styles, reorienting management processes, and evolving company cultures is a daunting task. It starts with setting a stage for alloying teams, allowing for dynamism, leading by example, and supporting performance crucibles to encourage the alloying process.
People are the start.
Leaders must lead by example to sustain spirit and provide steady focus. And, organizations must create and sustain an environment that supports communication, free thought, and dedicated action.