It is helpful to identify what makes the difference between a high performing team and an ordinary one. This is a subtle and complex issue but it has been observed that successful teams share a number of characteristics and behaviours.
Common Purpose: they all are working to achieve the same ends
Effective Measures: they know when they are on track, and when they need to do something more or different
A Shared Plan: they understand not only what to do but how to do it. The plan has enough detail to guide them, and enough flexibility to enable them to cope with changes in circumstances, to incorporate new knowledge, skills and capabilities, and to compensate for difficulties encountered
Clear Roles & Responsibilities: they all know what they should be doing, they understand their strengths and weaknesses and compensate accordingly. They value and use their differences and build on them.
Regular, quality, two-way Communications: this is the life blood of a real team and can never be ignored. It involves both speaking out honestly and listening attentively. It binds them together and facilitates action (whether on plan or to compensate for changes). It is used to:-
Support & encourage
Adaptability & Creativity: times change, teams evolve, new challenges arise, old strengths wane; no plan is perfect or fully complete (you don't know what you don't know!) A winning team can respond to these changes is a creative and appropriate manner.
Effective Leadership: This is different from having a strong leader. In the best teams leadership is flexible and situational and shifts to the person best placed to over leadership at that point in time. Leadership is more about capabilities than position.
Common Values: there needs to be a shared underpinning of what is really important to the team and what is peripheral. When the going gets tough ( and it always does at some stage) you need to make sure that everyone is not only focused on the same goal, but is being directed by the same 'compass'.
Effective Tools & Processes: we all need to be able to rely on certain things and it is really tough to turn out good work with shoddy tools.
Effective Problem Solving and Dispute Resolution: these are linked but not the same. The former tends to be related to task and the latter to relationships. Sooner or later you are bound to encounter both and the team needs to have the tools and skills and motivation to deal with both and not lose its way.
Shared Rewards: if there is no balance in terms of how the team gets rewarded then sooner or later the wheels will fall off. Everyone ultimately acts on their own agendas (What is In it For Me?), and we sublimate our own drives and goals to those of the team only when we get more of what we want by doing so. This goes back to the days when cavemen hunted mammoths, if they got more food by hunting as a pack they continued to do so.
How does your team stack up against these criteria? Mark them using the attached score sheet then ask them to do the same and compare the results. We believe that there is a key role in any team for the external catalyst. How often do you expose your team to this kind of new influence?
SCORE [1=low, 6=high]
A Shared Plan
Clear Roles & Responsibilities
Regular, quality, two-way Communications
Adaptability & Creativity
Effective Tools & Processes:
Effective Problem Solving and Dispute Resolution
Characteristics of High Performing Teams: this is a useful guide to what you need to get your team to perform, together with a handy assessment tool.
Call us today to explore how some of our novel and highly effective tools to improve the performance of your team
It's not so much that we're afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it's that place in between that we fear . . . . It's like being between trapezes. It's Linus when his blanket is in the dryer. There's nothing to hold on to. - Marilyn Ferguson