How to Develop & Grow a High Performing Team
“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” Richard Branson. Head of Virgin Group Ltd
Have you ever heard the saying “A champion team will always beat a team of champions”? What this is referring to is the power of synergy, that magic that happens when 1+1 equals more than 2.
When you are growing a business, you bring together people with the right skills, experience, and values to do the work that meets the needs of your customers. But are they a team? And more to the point are they a high performing team? Because a high performing team is more than just a group of people working together.
According to Jon R. Kazenbach and Douglas K. Smith in their book The Wisdom of Teams there are two types of Teams:
- A ‘real team’ which is a group of people who are equally committed to a common purpose, goals, and working approach, for which they hold themselves mutually accountable
- A ‘high performance team’ which has all the characteristics of a real team and has team members who are deeply committed to one another’s’ personal growth and success.
High performance teams are a synergy of individuals whose complementary skills and experience combine with a laser like focus on achieving goals with outstanding results.
In the new flexible work environment, it’s also about how you work. You need purpose, connection, and collaboration to ensure your team is engaged and empowered to produce at the highest level.
So, if you are aspiring to make your team a high performing team there are four key areas you need to be working on to take your team from good to great.
Create a culture that unites.
If you want your people to be aligned and supportive of one another then focus on purpose, values, and behaviours.
Managers of high performing teams regularly engage with their people about the purpose and value of their work. They ensure that team members understand the connection between their actions and the goals and priorities of the organisation.
They use every opportunity to talk about the values and behaviours that underpin their team’s performance and acknowledge the skills and contributions of team members. By their own actions they reinforce the culture required to sustain performance especially during times of change and uncertainty and focus on building their team’s agility and resilience.
Deliver communications that connect and engage.
In a hybrid environment when people are working from home and the office it is about keeping them connected and engaged so no one gets left behind. Regular, clear communications are important along with agreed processes for conducting timely and efficient meetings.
Connecting at a personal level is also key to well-being. Leaders of high performing teams make time to get to know their people and other aspects of their lives and encourage team members to look out for each other.
They use coaching opportunities to be clear on what is expected but also to receive feedback on what is working and what is not. They value harmony in the team and address issues to ensure they are not swept under the carpet.
Commit to continuous learning and development.
It is no secret that development is one of the key contributors to employee retention. People want to develop and grow. High performing teams build continuous improvement into their DNA.
Leaders of high performing teams encourage curiosity and challenge. They understand the importance of innovation. They encourage their teams to continually examine ways to improve efficiencies and outcomes.
They invest in management and employee development. They know they are at risk of losing people if they are not training and developing them. Training and coaching are focused on developing strengths and skills that support organisational and individual needs and priorities.
Attract and recruit the right people.
It may seem self-evident but if you want to build a high performing team you need to recruit great team players. And to recruit great team players you need to know what you are looking for e.g., in his book The Ideal Team Player Patrick Lencioni suggests that great team players should be ‘humble, hungry and smart’ and leaders who can identify, hire, and cultivate employees with these qualities have a serious advantage over those who cannot.
Leaders of high performing teams have a well-honed process for identifying, selecting, and onboarding their ideal employees. They do not take short cuts and are rigorous in their approach. They understand the dynamics of a successful team and involving team members in the selection process is key to their success.
And finally, they are always on the look-out for people who will be a good fit. While they may not necessarily be hiring at the time, they are prepared to be ‘creative’ in finding opportunities for bringing the right people in who can add value to the team.
The creation of a high performing team is a product of process, planning and perseverance. It is iterative by nature and cannot be achieved instantly. While there is no single formula for success, by following these four key areas you will have the opportunity to develop and grow your own team and over time, take them from good to great.
Contact Warren to achieve better results with your people, on 0417 594 760 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org