high performance team

December 2, 2008

Five Characteristics of a High Performance Team

High performance teams share a number of characteristics that set them apart from their less capable counterparts. Some of these characteristics are objective and easily quantifiable. Others are of the “I know it when I see it” variety; subjective and hard to define.

But whether subjective or objective these characteristics form the basis of developing and maintaining a high performance team.

Here are five characteristics that are particularly important:

1. The team has defined what success looks like.

The ability to accurately identify the desired outcome is common to all high performance teams. Whether it’s introducing a new product, winning a sports championship or developing a new process high performance teams have a clear understanding of their ultimate goal.

2. The team’s actions are guided by specific values.

Teams, like individuals, possess values that impact on their actions. High performance teams develop and continually enforce a core set of positive group values that govern the actions of each team member. From these values come the principles and processes that guide the team’s daily activities.

3. The team is made up of the right people, and they’re in the right places.

The best teams are those that put each member in the role for which they are uniquely suited. This often requires looking beyond job descriptions to find those hidden or under-used talents that members possess.

4. They have identified barriers to success and have planned to eliminate or minimize those barriers.

Whether you call them barriers or challenges or even opportunities, every team faces problems that can prevent successful completion of their mission. High performance teams are adept at recognizing those barriers and devising effective plans to overcome them.

5. The team conducts periodic progress evaluations.

You can’t get where you’re going if you don’t know where you are. High performance teams define success in ways that are specific, pertinent, attainable, measurable and observable.

They use their definition in conducting periodic progress evaluations in order to determine their progress in relation to their desired end-state. This in turn allows them to make mid-course corrections if necessary.

Building and maintaining a high performance team takes commitment, time and effort. It also requires a focus on those positive characteristics that distinguish high performance teams.

Teams that invest the time and effort and maintain that focus will consistently exceed expectations, enjoy high member satisfaction and serve as a model for others to follow.

Doug Petch PhotoDoug Petch specializes in helping organizations and individuals create the synergies in team building, leadership and communication skills that lead to sustained profitability and long-term success. He is also the host of the popular Sixty Second Success Seminar, an audio program focused on the tools, tips and techniques that anyone can use to navigate their path to success. Website: www.dougpetch.com

Filed under Developing Your People by Martin

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November 19, 2008

Building Your Team and Managing It Successfully

A well functioning team includes a number of effective people who are concerned about each other and are strongly committed to their assignment. These individuals have the right motivation to work with their collective strength and skill to achieve a given target. Building and managing such a team is a challenge and, ultimately, a pleasure.

From our studies and readings about team development, we have discovered three basic criteria that have to be fulfilled in order to achieve the greatest heights in team management and performance. Coupled with relevant reward and satisfaction for each team-mate, you have a recipe for success.

These criteria are:

1. Resources and Commitment
2. Ownership and Heart
3. Learning

Though these three requirements form the defining structure of teamwork, they are not everything.

You see, every group is different and the needs and factors that guide its team effort have to be outlined exclusively.

The second of the outlined conditions, “Ownership and Heart” specifies that the success of a team is determined by the involvement of the members while the foundations are being laid. The effort needs to be heartfelt, and all the members must strive to come up with “team friendly” attitudes, principles and beliefs.

Teamwork is most fruitful when the members believe in it genuinely and execute their tasks with faith and loyalty, in a way that adheres to the primary principles of team effort. Unbreakable groups are made of the right attitude, frame of mind, and principles as much as the policies and systems that support them.

At the most basic position, the key to unlock the power of the team effort “Genie” depends on the eagerness of the team members to the rub the lamp of responsibility. Individuals who hold the stakes in the group need zeal for personal management to incorporate teamwork and to maintain it. The seeds of team effort must be planted, watered and developed by the members themselves. As said earlier, the team can only be built from the inside and not the outside.

There is no doubt that external agents will bring about the pace and comfort with which teamwork takes hold. But these forces cannot run the hearts and minds of the members. Each person in the team is answerable for his/her actions to the rest. There are many people who simply cannot grab the concept of responsibility.

However, these very people are the ones to tell us that they are disappointed with the lack of tightness and integrated teamwork that are found in working groups today. Some maintain that they can experience the power, energy and enthusiasm that should radiate from an ideal team effort.

Frequently, members of an organization are ignorant of the level and nature of the teamwork that define their groups. They are too occupied in their own competitions against each other to worry about such issues. In any social condition, if the individuals are unwilling to take responsibility, get involved, or show interest in what’s going on, they cannot expect more than the poor results they achieve.

Group members forfeit their rights to report against the poor level of motivation and the quality of work life when they shirk their duties, do not assist in building teams or contribute to teamwork.

One of the principal challenges nowadays is to teach and empower people to be more involved while building teams. The main factors that affect teamwork are not those external to the team like the top management, the union or the government, the stockholders or the weather.

The ideas, beliefs, principles and mental constitutions we form collectively as members of a group are the important factors. We see alarmingly large numbers of people who play the roles of victims to the external enemies of an organization and instead trying to improve the situation lament on its adversity.

They constantly complain about how their confidence has been shattered by these factors but fail to act in order to protect the group.

Filed under Building the Future, Developing Your People by Martin

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