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Jul 11, 2023

4 Key Elements of Team Intelligence

John Mathew


Have you ever been part of a team that just didn’t … work? A big part of successful resource management is building a great team, and there are a lot of factors to consider when doing so. Skill level, experience, management style, workload, company and team culture, and individual personalities are only a few. Maybe that’s why there seems to be something almost magical about a team that truly “works.” 

While it may not be magic exactly, one thing that the most productive and engaged teams have on their side is team intelligence. There are four key elements required to achieve “team intelligence”: 

1. People

Of course, you need people to create a team; that’s a no-brainer. But what may not be so obvious is how crucial it is to have the right people on your team, especially if team intelligence is one of your goals. It’s not enough to hire solely on resume credentials and prior work experience. 

To build an intelligent team, you need people who are a “good fit” — whose values align with the company culture, whose personality complements the overall team dynamic, and whose individual strengths will fill in gaps and fortify the team as a whole. Much like a jigsaw puzzle, there are always plenty of pieces to choose from, but only the right pieces in the right places will give you the full picture.

Luckily, today’s workforce is highly flexible, able and willing to work from anywhere. Managers are no longer limited to seeking local talent to complete their teams. There’s no need to settle for someone “good enough” when the talent pool is big enough to include someone who’s “perfect” for the job — and the team. 

2. Maturity

In the context of team maturity, we’re not talking about employee ages, years of experience or tenure with the company. We’re talking about a team that finds the best way to work to do the best work possible.

In many companies, each team or department functions like its own company, restricted to working within designated processes and groups regardless of whether it’s the best fit for the given project or situation. But a mature team shares work well, shedding the “do-it-yourself” mentality in favor of one that facilitates putting together the best possible team for each project. By making decisions based on the project requirements and timeline, considering the skills and availability of their team members, and collaborating with other departments, intelligent teams are empowered to achieve the optimal outcome. 

Adaptability is also the mark of a mature team. Managers are responsible for more than the people on their team and the projects they take on. They also manage change — changing project scope, client expectations, timelines, etc. Instead of functioning reactively by requiring immediate action specific to the issue at hand, intelligent teams establish and honor a process for shifting work, priorities and deadlines to accommodate change. A mature team will work together and identify how best to adapt while still meeting project and team goals. 

3. Visibility

Have you ever tried to plug something in when you can’t see the outlet? You know it’s there, you know what it looks like, you know how it works. But because you can’t see it, it suddenly feels like you’ve never plugged anything in before in your entire life. The same thing happens when a team doesn’t have adequate visibility into their workload. They know there’s work to be done and people to do it, but it’s just not the most effective way to go about it — both the team and the projects suffer.

By giving resource managers and team members full visibility into the current workload, assignments and pipeline, teams are more productive and efficient. For managers, this kind of visibility lets them easily recognize when a team member is over-extended or under-utilized, so they can adjust assignments accordingly. Team members also benefit in this regard, as it helps avoid employee burnout and/or boredom. 

Visibility also contributes to team intelligence by allowing team members to see upcoming projects that they might be interested in working on. Employees aren’t just cells in a spreadsheet — they’re people with skills and interests beyond what they’ve been hired to do. The opportunity to raise their hand for work they know they’ll enjoy, be good at or learn from enriches the work experience and makes for a happier, more engaged team. 

4. Technology

Team intelligence is more accessible than ever when you consider the caliber and availability of enterprise technology that uses intelligent automation, machine learning and other data-rich capabilities. In many ways, the technology you invest in becomes a member of your team. So, as with people, it’s important to choose and use technology that is a good fit. Failed technology investments are usually due to one of two things: the technology does not meet the needs of the team and work, or the team is resistant to using the technology in its most useful capacity. Leveraging team intelligence helps avoid both of these pitfalls. 

First, an intelligent team invests only in technology that best meets their objectives and provides helpful insights that would otherwise be overlooked. Similar to choosing team members whose skills and strengths complete your team, choosing the right technology gives your people the best tools to do their best work.

Second, intelligent teams have the maturity and desire to understand and use their technology to its fullest capacity. How often do you hear employees complain about the technology their team uses rather than investing the time and energy required to use it properly? If you’ve sought out and invested in what you believe is the best technology for your team, chances are good that it does most of the things your employees want it to do. And again, much the same way they recognize and lean on the strengths of their colleagues, an intelligent team sees the value in what their technology brings to the table and learns how best to leverage it. 

The advantages of team intelligence come from having a team of the right people who approach their work with maturity, and giving them the visibility and technology necessary to create the best possible outcomes for the business and themselves. From a resource management perspective, Audere delivers team intelligence in an intuitive, collaborative and smart team planning experience. Foster and empower team intelligence by giving your people the tools and culture they need to thrive.

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