How important to performance is your sense of feeling tied to your team?

 Anyone who has worked or played on a team in which everyone gets on well and communication is good would probably agree that that has a lot to do with how well the team plays. Certainly, it makes the experience more pleasant, whether you’re playing softball or working to beat a deadline. But is the correlation between cohesion and success something we can quantify, or just a “feel good” business culture ideal?

 Research in the field of cognitive engineering shows that as much as 96 per cent of front-line decisions are made on the fly, with little time for information gathering or analysis. The good news is that research also shows that if people on the team are socially and emotionally engaged with each other as they work toward a common goal, their decision reflexes produce much better results via a logical, analytical approach. Team cohesion plays heavily into the process of decision making, particularly when the pressure’s on.

 Researcher Albert Carron developed the Group Environment Questionnaire (GEQ). The Carron model of cohesion among members of sports teams identified four key contributing factors that interact to facilitate social or task cohesion: environmental, personal, team and leadership. The model measures the following categories of cohesion:

·         Individuals’ perception of the group

·         Individuals’ personal attraction to the group

·         Individuals’ perception of the group task

·         Individuals’ personal attraction to the group task

 The GEQ comprises four or five questions under each category. The key finding was that the teams with the highest ‘team cohesion’ scores had the best season win. Clearly, coaches and sport psychologists would be well advised to assess team cohesion and develop team-building strategies to improve task cohesion. So would business owners.

 Sun Tzu taught that people cannot be united to succeed in any endeavor unless they share a common philosophy that gives their struggle a greater meaning. In today’s business culture, this is what we call “mission”. If the ‘we’ mentality can raise the performance of all the players, think of what it can do with colleagues and employees working towards a common goal. Focus on building that cohesion, and you’ll score more wins.