Creating a High-Performance Team

Many business leaders are dunderheads. “Why?” do you ask in shocked dismay. Because they routinely miss a huge improvement opportunity. Business organizations and companies, when they are enlightened and awake, are interested in high-performance teams. When internal business groups can powerfully collaborate, business problems are solved in an efficient manner and solutions are implemented quickly. This then gives the business a strategic advantage.

Over my years in business as a coach, I’ve heard business leaders refer to many groups of individuals as “teams.” You hear business leaders use the term all the time. For the most part I cringe and hyperventilate when the word “team” is used in business. I react this way because it is usually not an accurate description for the group being described. I then get a rash.

I’ve found it to be useful to distinguish business groups from business teams. In business organizations, you either have groups or you have teams. For the most part you have groups. A group is made up of individuals each accountable and focused on doing their own thing. In a group there is no common work agenda other than that they work for the same company.

Imagine a group of individuals waiting at a bus stop or a group of operators at an online call center taking reservations. In groups there is no need for joint collaboration or group output. Everyone involved is focused on their individual activity. The individuals involved are not connected by having any type of joint work produced.

In teams there are a number of people involved with complementary skills focused on the same outcome. These individuals are mutually accountable for an agreed upon result. The mutual accountability, as we shall see, is a big deal and a very significant difference between teams and groups.

I know that you are now saying, “OK Bozo head, I am sold. But how do I do this? How do I create a high-performance work team?”

The following are the five things that are critical in having business groups grow and develop into high-performance work teams.

  • Members of a high-performance work team have a common performance agenda that all members subscribe to and support
  • Teams enjoy and are engaged in what they are doing. They are into it.
  • High-performance teams are, “a small number of people with complementary skills who are equally committed to a common purpose, goals, and a working approach in which they hold themselves mutually accountable.”
  • High-performance teams develop in stages.
  • A high-performance team designs its own high-performance structure.