A High Performance Team with No Leader

I continue to be amazed at what happens when teams form around a common passion.  I first wrote about the Macarthur Park Group in my column in Arkansas Business.  This is a citizen’s group with no formal charter, no executive sponsorship and no pre-imposed structure.  The group formed over a common interest, reinvigorating a city park.

You know those project meetings we all hate to go to?  The one’s where everyone talks about their deliverables of the week and issues on their critical path.? The ones that you could get the same information from the weekly project plan and give the meeting a pass?  This team gathers every Friday at 8 and simply talks about what needs doing.  So what has gotten done?  In two years, a group with very different interests, no official power to act from LR Parks and Rec and no budget has:

  • Created a Museum and Heritage Trail connecting the Mac Park area with the balance of the downtown historic district.
  • Raised $100,000 and sponsored the retention of a professional firm to complete a master plan for the park
  • Organized and executed a community 5K historic run/ walk/ party with about 300 participants its first year
  • And will this week be launching a downloadable MP3 guided cultural and historical walking tour of the district.

Along the way, the park has gotten cleaned up in community day events several times and a number of new projects connected to the park have already improved the environment in the neighborhood.  Think this kind of collaboration and self directed results are unique to community groups?  Not so.  The best teams in business environments come together because the people on them desperately want to see a solution happen- and many in unofficial ways.

Next time you have a bet the business project, consider finding someone to delegate it to who has a real desire to see the outcomes it should create- and give that person lots of breathing room.