How to Get Your Innovation Team in Peak Performance Quickly

Need to get your innovation team at peak performance quickly?

Forget about taking the team out for a beer.

Ask these 9 questions instead.

It’s common to have a social event to kick off a new project or major initiative. The idea is that this will translate into better collaboration in the workplace. By helping the team get to know each other better and build rapport and cohesion.

It’s a nice idea.

But, it doesn’t actually work.

💡Collaborations fail because people have different motivations, communication styles, work preferences, and priorities.

Not because they don’t like each other.

Think about it.

When you are on a project and your colleague doesn’t respond to your emails as quickly as you think they should, are you really thinking to yourself, “Well, I really like this person because learned in the project kickoff meeting that we both like to play Minecraft, so I’m sure it will be OK…”


You’re thinking, “My colleague is a nice person, but right now I’m very frustrated that they aren’t being responsive! They are useless, we need a new team member !”

But, what if you knew in July that your colleague was going to be out of town for 2 weeks in September because of a conference?

That is useful information! You could plan around it.

🎯Successful innovation leaders help their team discover what those different motivations, communication styles, priorities, and work preferences are, so they can ease friction in the day-to-day work environment.

Here are 9 questions that help you discover what everyone needs to know.

  1. What does success for this project mean to you?
  2. What is your preferred mode of communication?
  3. How would you like me to keep you informed of the status of the project?
  4. Would you like to be invited to social gatherings or other events that I might do with the project team?
  5. What is your typical response time to emails/voicemails, etc?
  6. Do you have any major projects, deliverables, or life changes coming up that might impact your availability that I should be aware of?
  7. Are there any seasonal factors I should know about that could impact the availability of resources (planned maintenance, major conferences, etc.)
  8. When you think about other people you’ve collaborated with, what are some success factors that made that a good relationship?

🏆Here are a few best practices:
Give these questions to the team in advance and share them in a meeting.
As you add people to your team, even for short duration activities, invite them to share their answers.

🌟Bringing a new product or service to market takes an ecosystem of various stakeholders. Each with their own motivations, priorities, and work preferences. Successful innovation leaders build ecosystem cohesion but helping their team discover how best to work better together.

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