performance teams

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 25, 2008

Five Team Building Myths

Successful organizations recognize the importance of high performance teams in avoiding wasted time, wasted effort and wasted money.

This does not mean, though, that the people in these organizations are aware of the many team building myths that have gained acceptance over the years.

Here are five common myths that you should recognize and resist:

MYTH:
Team building is an event.

FACT: Too many managers and team leaders believe that holding off-site team building events is all there is to building an effective team. But, while some of these events can be useful in strengthening team bonds, they are but one component of an effective team building strategy. The key here is to never forget that team building is a process made up of many discrete events.

MYTH: Team building is designed to eliminate conflict and disagreement.

FACT: Eliminating conflict and disagreement results in a “group think” mentality that ultimately stifles innovation and achievement. An effective team is one that has learned to manage conflict and disagreement in a constructive manner.

MYTH: Only managers and team leaders are responsible for building teams.

FACT: It’s true that managers and team leaders are responsible for assembling team members and for their output, but they are not solely responsible for turning those individuals into a team. Each team member has a stake in the process of building an effective team. They must master the skills necessary to function as a team, even when the manager or team leader is not present.

MYTH: Team members must like each other.

FACT: In a perfect world, that would be true. But in the real world it is entirely probable that some of your team members will not get along on a personal level. The key is to recognize and acknowledge these conflicts and to work with these team members so that they can maintain a workable professional relationship

MYTH: A team that starts strong will stay that way.

FACT: While you may succeed at building a team that excels in the first two stages of teambuilding – forming and storming- that does not mean that the team will continue to excel as it moves through the last two stages – norming and performing. Teams typically fluctuate amongst the four stages, particularly when new members are introduced or when faced with unanticipated challenges.

Accepting any one of these five myths as fact can have a tremendous negative impact on your chances of team building success.

Recognizing them for what they are and taking appropriate steps to eliminate them from your team building beliefs, on the other hand, will lead you to focus on more effective methods for building a strong, high performance team.

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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