26th February 2021 | Claudia Filsinger
Why understanding team tenure can be a key to healthy sales-team dynamics and a rapid alignment of teams.
The longer a team has spent together with the same composition of team members, the more harmonious interpersonal relationships become. The shared experience builds trust and psychological safety, leading to smoother team processes, more effective use of resources and increased team performance (Gonzales-Mule et al., 2020). However, the reality for many sales teams is a frequent change in team dynamics due to multiple factors: reorganisation of sales territories, integration of employees after acquisitions, and natural attrition as individual members move to new roles outside the team.
Frequently, team interventions are used to compensate for recurring team membership changes, or to accelerate bonding in new teams. Usually these focus on team composition aspects such as individual personalities and strengths, team roles (eg tools such as Belbin) and skills. Further, the focus is on clarifying the team purpose and visualising future goals. Indeed, I am using many of these approaches in my own team coaching practice and they have their rightful place to speed up team processes, give teams access to their full human capital and create clarity of their future direction. However, teams are complex constructs due to the multitude of interrelationships (for example, a team with ten members results in 45 different relationships); therefore individual-based methods need to be combined with approaches working at the team level.