In The News

Solari: Teamwork still holds power in the age of automation

Mar 15, 2017

This post was originally published in the Reno Gazette Journal and can be found at this link.

http://www.rgj.com/story/money/business/2017/02/24/solari-teamwork-still-holds-power-age-automation/98363804/

 

In an era many business leaders are calling the “age of automation,” the power of teamwork still remains a key to unlocking business results.

 

These two seemingly opposing forces are actually tightly interlinked. While automation, robotics and technology will continue to absorb rote, repetitive work, companies that unlock the skills that automation cannot bring to the table — collaboration, creativity, and team-driven problem-solving — will rise to the top.

 

Companies today must harness the power of their teams to deliver products, services and experiences that automation cannot provide. The power of an intelligent, collaborative and creative team can unlock ideas, relationships and new service lines that automation simply cannot deliver.

 

Peter Drucker, one of the foremost thought leaders in management culture, coined the term “knowledge worker” and said “the most valuable asset of a 21st-century institution, whether business or nonbusiness, will be its knowledge workers and their productivity.”

 

The challenge for companies today is how to attract, retain and inspire knowledge workers. And that can be done most effectively through the power of the team and through the strength of a company’s culture.

 

As Drucker famously said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

 

Culture and team are the prime drivers of recruitment, innovation, productivity and growth. But they are often ignored or downplayed by executives focused on measuring, monitoring and analyzing every aspect of business operations, mostly because culture and teamwork often defies measurement.

 

Some business experts even call culture the “invisible” ingredient that propels a company forward. But that invisible ingredient is vital to the execution of strategy. If strategy runs counter to a company’s culture, it is almost impossible to implement. But when strategy and culture align, execution becomes almost effortless.

 

To create a winning culture, it is more important than ever to hire and cultivate team players who understand how to build culture and use it to drive performance.

 

Renowned business author Patrick Lencioni advises company leaders to look for three qualities when hiring and promoting team players: humility, hunger and people smarts.

 

Humility allows team players to put the team above their individual egos, and cultivate all members of the team. To truly grow a team you need to focus on the entire group, not individual egos or results.

 

Hunger is the ambition that fuels great work, but also makes team members self-motivated. If you have hungry team members who push for the best result without having to be coaxed along by a manager, you have the ingredients of a great inspired team.

 

And people smarts is the sensitivity to the team dynamics in the workplace that are critical to high-functioning teams. This is the emotional or relational intelligence that is so important in building trust and collaboration across an organization.

 

Automation and technology will continue to advance and change the workplace, but these changes will never alter the foundation of great companies — the team dynamics and culture that fuels innovation, creativity and productivity that are the true hallmarks of great companies.

 

John Solari is the managing partner of J.A. Solari & Partners. He has 25 years of accounting experience and is also a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Nevada Society of Certified Public Accountants.