Building High Performance Teams

So, what's their secret?

When you see a high performing team, whether in sport or business, they really stand out. So, what’s their secret? Are they just a better group of individuals brought together in one team, or is there something more to it? High performing teams don’t just happen by accident and there are always a number of common principles you’ll want to implement in your own organisation:

Understand the individuals in the team

How well do you know the people who work in your team? What are they passionate about? What are their key skills and abilities and are they being used in the best way? Take time to get to know your team individually and understand what motivates them. Understand what leadership skills you need to deploy and use them. Look at Klopp and Pochetinno and their ability to get their teams into the Champions League final. They know how to press the buttons on each individual in their teams.

Understand the strengths and weaknesses of the whole team

As a team, how balanced are they in their roles? Do you have your creative as well as your detailed people in the right jobs? Are your Marketing and Sales people natural at making connections, establishing relationships and going after business externally? Who is ‘shaping’ your business to succeed and do you have people who take care of the team? Belbin Team Roles is a great tool you can use here to help understand how well your team fit together and where the gaps are.

Develop and constantly reinforce your Vision and Values

What’s the vision for your business? Is everyone able to articulate it? Is your vision clear and understood by all and most importantly is it constantly reinforced by the leaders of your business, who show how the strategies and goals are aligned to it? What are your values and how are they reinforced? Values need to be only a few, meaningful clear words or statements. Once agreed your values must also be constantly reinforced through stories that show them in action in the business. These stories will reflect the culture of the business you are building. Taking action that reinforces the kind of business you want sets the tone for everyone in building the team.

Build trust, open and honest dialogue and personal accountability

High performing teams trust each other completely; this means they are able to have very frank, open and honest conversations with each other without risking offence. They don’t have ‘corridor conversations’ dominating the workplace, but rather have them ‘in the room’ at the time. Personal accountability that is demanded by the whole team of each other is also vital to maintaining high performance. Don’t have joint accountability for anything – it never works!

Reward and recognise the team and your individuals

Team rewards are great when joint results are achieved and days or evenings out to celebrate are vital as recognition for a job well done. However, we’re not all the same and if your best performers are to be motivated and retained they will need to be rewarded personally. Likewise, you will probably have members of your team who are simply not performing. They maybe in the wrong job, need training and development or it may be better both for them and your business to part ways. Ignore your poor performers at your peril as they will have a huge impact on the overall performance of your team.