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Italy's Fall at Euro 2024: Lessons on How to Create High-Performing Teams

Most people who know me, know I’m a football tragic. I've enjoyed the coverage from Euro 2024 and the reflections it has created so far. Italy's stunning fall from grace at Euro 2024 was a cautionary tale about the dangers of misalignment in teams. The Azzurri's early exit from the tournament they won just three years ago highlights how quickly success can unravel when key elements fall out of sync.

The 2-0 defeat to Switzerland in the last 16 of the competition has been met with harsh criticism. Former England striker and BBC broadcaster Gary Lineker even described this Italian team as the worst he's witnessed in his lifetime, with others sharing this view. I can't say they are wrong. At Twenty2 Collective, we're on a mission to help teams achieve high performance and happiness through training, coaching, consulting and conducting contemporary research.

Much like the organisational challenges identified in Twenty2 Collective's latest High Performance Insights, Italy's national team struggled with alignment issues that ultimately led to their downfall.

Despite having talented individual players, the squad lacked cohesion and a clear shared vision under their new manager Luciano Spalletti.

As we close out another financial year, we wanted to share some of the valuable insights we've gathered through our research. Here are the key themes.

1. Alignment Challenges

One of the most significant findings from our research is that 70% of the organizations we surveyed still struggle with creating shared alignment across teams.

This alignment is crucial not just for cohesive teamwork but also for translating big-picture visions into successful outcomes.

Team alignment training can play a vital role in addressing these challenges by ensuring that all team members are on the same page and working towards common goals.

2. Enhancing Collaboration

Collaboration remains a critical area for improvement.

While the agile movement has made strides in promoting collaboration, silos still exist, particularly at the interdepartmental level.

Effective collaboration requires breaking down these silos and fostering an environment where different departments work together seamlessly. If you're wondering how to get my team to collaborate better, consider implementing regular cross-departmental meetings and joint projects to encourage teamwork.

3. Investment in Employees

Despite market declines, the top 20% of companies are investing extensively in their employees. These leading organisations recognise that investing in training, development, and providing the necessary tools is crucial for maintaining high performance. Employee investment directly impacts engagement and productivity, ensuring that your team is equipped to meet challenges head-on.

4. Transitioning from Project to Product

Another nuanced insight from our research is the ongoing transition many organizations are making from project-based work to product-based frameworks. While initial investments in training and establishing product teams have been successful, there is still significant work needed. Educating leadership, business groups, and stakeholders about product maturity and building product ownership capabilities are areas that require focused attention.

The final word on how to create high performing teams

The Italian national team's rapid decline serves as a stark reminder of the critical importance of alignment in high-performing teams. Just as Twenty2 Collective's research emphasises the need for shared alignment across teams and clear connections between vision and execution, Italy's failure at Euro 2024 underscores how quickly success can evaporate when these elements are neglected.

Stay tuned for more insights and strategies on how to keep your team performing at its best.

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