Every group skill can be sorted into one of two basic types: skills of proficiency and skills of creativity.
Skills of proficiency are about doing task the same way, every single time. They are about delivering machine-like reliability, and they tend to apply in domains in which the goal behaviors are clearly defined, such as service. Building purpose to perform these skills is like building a vivid map: You want to spotlight the goal and provide crystal-clear directions to the checkpoints along the way. Ways to do that include:
- Fill the group’s windshield with clear, accessible models of excellence.
- Provide high-repetition, high-feedback training.
- Build vivid, memorable rules of thumb (if X, then Y).
- Spotlight and honor the fundamentals of the skill.
Creative skills, on the other hand, are about empowering a group to do the hard work of building something that has never existed before. Generating purpose in these areas is like supplying an expedition: You need to provide support, fuel, and tools and to serve as a protective presence that empowers the team doing the work. Some ways to do that include:
- Keenly attend to team composition and dynamics.
- Define, reinforce, and relentlessly protect the team’s creative autonomy.
- Make it safe to fail and to give feedback.
- Celebrate hugely when the group takes initiative.
Most groups, of course, consist of a combination of these skill types, as they aim for proficiency in certain areas and creativity in others. They key is to clearly identify these ares and tailor leadership accordingly.
Ref: The Culture Code, Daniel Coyle