This pandemic reminded us that nothing is permanent. To look beyond blended teams and remote work. The normality of impermanence is here to stay.
We had lived our lives starting to think that everything was permanent.
Now we are faced with a new reality.
This pandemic taught us, again, that everything is fleeting. As we got used to being locked down, the world is opening again.
New reality again.
The realisation hit home. Everything is impermanent.
A lot of us may be feeling nervous to go back to the previous normal. A lot of us have felt comfortable to be confined with a smaller group of trusted people. People you feel safe to be around and want to be with.
The ability to reach out for what you need from the outside world, when you needed it, still able to connect with strangers online, network, develop a business and get things done.
These relationships do not need shared physical space, just recognition of individual contribution and the skills or value that members bring to the table.
A powerful opportunity based on a core trusted team of members who feel safe with each other and who work well together.
Building teams along these lines allows for the possibility to avoid infusing the team on a long-term basis with functional specialists, who may not be a good overall team fit but have needed skills.
Bringing these skills on-demand mitigates the risk of having team members that others do not enjoy working with. In the current employment model this can cause anxiety, negative office dynamics, adverse impact on culture and overall teamwork.
A core team plus a mix of skills brought in as and when needed to deliver on clear deliverables hugely lessens the need to manage inter-personal team dynamics.
Blended teams – when?
Creating perfectly blended teams is possible when there is:
- clarity of the exact skills needed.
- acknowledgement of the impermanency of the engagement, that expertise needed at a point in time and for a project or more.
- flexibility on all fit-related aspects besides that of core skills. In traditional employment, the best functional skills are often bypassed due to non-skills related reasons, like demographics.
Humans prefer to have people they enjoy being around closest to them in personal relationships, so replicating this at work has great opportunity to unlock engagement levels.
This natural preference became more obvious to a lot of people during the last few months as more people realised the impermanence of life.
Work is one aspect only of that. For ages, the permanence of the pay-check provided a safety net. Another work myth busted in the last few years, made more obvious with the economic downturns, recessions, pandemics, etc.
Blended teams – Why?
The flexibility and cost-effectiveness of blended teams works well for many reasons.
An additional reason is the removal of bias, conscious or otherwise. A blended team potentially allows more diversity in companies and projects. Each freelancer brings a unique perspective and is largely removed from internal dynamics. A melting pot of experiences, backgrounds, generations, demographics, etc. In a blended team, the overall team mix is greater than the sum of its parts.
The ease in discoverability of specialized freelancers, makes it easier to access, engage and collaborate on projects over secure platforms. Platforms that build trust between strangers.
The impermanence of the engagement makes it even more enjoyable. If I am engaging with a freelance HR consultant, with 20 years plus of specialist experience on a project, I would want to extract the most value from their time. I want to learn more about the process, the why, how, what until I am fully convinced that I grasp their work and am comfortable to put forward to business. I approach every interaction as a learning journey. The impermanence of the engagement makes it more attractive.
Benefits of this impermanent engagement
There are many benefits of engaging with freelance specialists and in creating blended teams.
- The innovation that comes with the infusion of new skills and experiences
- The reduced cost that is a direct impact of impermanence
- The flexibility of scaling up or down as needed.
- Building teams based purely on skills, and not trading off skills due to other factors.
With the loss of confidence in full time work, people are searching for new ways of working. The idea of being around strangers you don’t (bio-) trust is scary. Much preferable is the option to stay close to a core group of trusted people and friends whilst still connecting and collaborating with the world.
One more interesting impact of impermanence is that more and more people will want to work and engage with projects that excite them and companies that they feel worthy of their time.
Finding the right specialist talent is facilitated by freelance platforms like One Circle. Engaging the right talent and getting them excited enough to motivate for projects requires much effort. There must be good enough reason, in addition to financial ones, for any freelancer to choose one project over any other, to work on.
Independent consultants or freelancers view themselves as small business owners and entrepreneurs. Their main goal is to grow their business and reputation. Every project they chose takes them closer to this goal.
The impermanence and elasticity of teams is one of the top reasons why businesses engage more with independent and freelance consultants.
Top performing organizations are the ones that realize this quickly and enable blended teams effectively. They make this mindset shift and start building core teams, creating an ecosystem of talent and blended teams.
Of course, this raises important questions related to culture, employee loyalty & engagement, Employer Value Propositions, performance management, etc.
We will be diving into these aspects soon.