Building High Performing Teams

Building high performing teams
Photo by Josh Calabrese

"The single most competitive advantage in business today, is teamwork" as quoted by Patrick Lencioni, a global guru on cohesive team behaviours. This guy knows his stuff when it comes to producing high performing teams. It's a set of behaviours most organisations at some time or another will need to address.

So many teams are sadly dysfunctional if you benchmark them against the five key behaviours that Lencioni talks about ... Trust, Conflict, Accountability, Commitment and Result. Think about those behaviours for just a minute, fundamental wouldn't you say to any team moving forward in a positive way.

However, a team also needs good leadership to start with, to create the vision, to ensure the alignment and then be a part of the process for execution and implementation of the plan. Once these points are made clear to the team in question, they then have clarity around expectations and can therefore start to change and drive culture.

So, a good starting point is to ask the team some thought provoking questions:

  • What is the essence of this team?

  • What is it that makes us a team as opposed to a group?

  • What is our purpose as a team?

  • What goals do we have?

  • How do we measure success?

  • What does success look like to this team?

  • What are our values?

  • What's our mission statement?

  • What are our team rules?

One of the first questions that any team and its leader need to ask is - are we a team or are we a group of people? What defines a team as opposed to a random gathering of individuals? Interesting questions to ask any team - and a good way to start to steer the thinking is around the 5 behaviours mentioned earlier. However, before any work can start on the team or random individuals, there has to be a raising of awareness. How do you start this process? Running a team report can help in order to look in-depth at how the dynamics of the team are working to create cohesiveness, but it's not easy to create high performance.

You need to make sure your team are ready for some "tough love". They need to have a rolled-up sleeves approach as well as recognising that they need to change to create something that they all buy in to.

We have turned around many under performing teams over the years, some have been very dysfunctional, having little or no respect for their colleagues. But by using a 5 behaviours team report as a starting point, we have helped organisations create the most amazing turnarounds in their workforce and allowing employees to feel more satisfied and motivated in their roles.

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