Death, Taxes… and Complexity

It’s 2020. Complexity is as certain in life as death and taxes. Complexity produces a fundamentally different situation from the challenges of the past. This new environment demands a new approach in order to succeed. The concept of complexity necessitating a paradigm shift, outlined in General Stanley McChrystal’s Team of Teams, means businesses and leaders need to significantly change their approach in how they operate to succeed. 

In a recent work session, the CEO commented, “I am concerned by how many  leaders and teams in my organization still operate as though their world is predictable, we just need better forecasts, they say – and then when the unexpected happens it’s a full on fire drill with all sorts of unintended, problematic  consequences.”

Reference: FUSSELL, C. (2018). One Mission: How Leaders Build a Team of Teams.

The bottom line is, Good teams are no longer good enough. GREAT teams are essential for the agility and speed needed to succeed in these complex and chaotic business environments.

Unfortunately in our research over the past 10 years, we have found that while every team has the potential to become a GREAT team, only 5% succeed.  Even good teams tell us of their struggles to succeed under pressure. They often feel overwhelmed by changing priorities and stuck in fire-fighting mode. Our research of what actually differentiated Great teams from good teams showed that these are the 5 qualities that make the Great Teams so special:

  1. Passion for purpose
  2. Courage to over-achieve (for simple AND complex problems)
  3. Build trustful, inclusive relationships (everyone had my back, and had cross-team trust)
  4. Play to strengths, embrace diversity in opinions (especially in disagreements)
  5. Work effectively (ideation, iteration, effective meetings)

The transformation of good teams to Great Teams does NOT happen on its own. It needs to be designed into the way teams are built and operate. At CoSuccess, we designed our Great Teams Program to catalyze and enable this transformation by:

  • building clarity and alignment on team purpose, priorities and guiding principles
  • developing the awareness and collaboration habits into a standard way of working and core cultural capabilities

If you are interested in learning more about how to design Great Teams, visit our website or contact us at


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