Adopting Agile Teamwork in Times of Crisis

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Ever wonder why do some teams consistently deliver high performance while other teams with similar setups struggle? Some important factors that determine a team’s success are their communication style, the personality of individual members, intelligence, talent, and the nature of the team as a whole. 

As work from home is becoming the new normal, there is an ever-increasing need for organizations to function in a manner that is not only supportive of business objectives but also one that induces strong teamwork. Times are changing and uncertainty prevails, there is a shift towards leaner structures and this calls for a change in the mindset. Leaner organizations may make greater demands on employees and are less likely to tolerate people who no longer precisely fit their requirements. The crisis has contributed to the creation and extensive use of virtual teams and it is no different fundamentally from traditional teams. Yes, there is a limitation of a certain degree of establishing a personal social interaction, however, technology has made it possible for us to operate as effectively in a formal set up. 

A small number of people working together towards a common goal constitutes a team. Flexibility, adaptability, and speed of response are the attributes that are innate in agile teams, and individuals will quickly need to adapt in order to be accepted in such dynamic teams. Agile teams are driven by the need to achieve and are likely to be proactive, they seek opportunities that encourage the development of their skills and use their abilities more productively. They have a considerable degree of autonomy, are self-managed, and are composed of individuals who are flexible, multi-skilled, and good team players. They plan with implementation in mind, identify how a strategy has to be converted into reality during the planning stage, and take steps to anticipate the problem statements involved beforehand. They understand that their work is interdependent and it is acknowledged by all members that the team will be able to deliver the results expected, only if they work well together and share the responsibility of their success and failures. They are not necessarily extroverts however they are comfortable approaching other people and they listen as much or probably more than they talk. They have short, engaging, and high energy conversations. After a task is done, they take a few minutes to reflect on what went well and poorly. They come together to share this information, perspectives, and insights to help each member do their job better and thereby help in increasing the overall performance standard of their group. 
They are aware of good practices that are normally followed, however they are not seduced by the notion that this must be universally applicable and easily replicated. They understand that “Best fit” is more important than “Best practice”. 

Agile teams focus on results and outperform individuals acting alone especially when a task requires multiple skills, judgement, and experience. Building Agile teams is a science that is still young and evolving however given the current situation there is an urgent need for organizations to transform quickly to improve long-distance work and manage cross-functional teams. This is the best way forward as it will enable businesses and individuals to be more adaptive, creative, and resilient when dealing with challenges and uncertainties that are not in their control.

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