During a recent conversation with a CTO, he mentioned a speech he had heard five years ago at a technology summit in London. The big takeaway, etched in his mind, were the words ‘fifty percent of the roles in 10 years’ time don’t even exist today’. This got my mind racing about the challenges of building a high performing team for today but also how we maintain a high performing team in the future. If we look at the rate and appetite to innovate and transform its clear that building a high performing team is difficult enough, but to keep pace with innovation as well adds even more complexity.

Here’s four steps to building and maintaining a high performing team;

  1. Create a diverse and stable team – Great care should be taken to hand pick a team that is diverse, has complimentary skills, a pro-team attitude, and an ability to learn and grow. The team composition is vital to its success and it is thought that teams should not grow beyond ten people as sub-teams can start to form and could encourage divisive behaviour.
  1. Build cohesive and value aligned team dynamics – A cohesive team is described as one that has shared values, a high level of interaction, and a sense of trust among members. A cohesive team typically increases productivity in great measure. It is important that the leader helps the team members focus on the vision through constant communication.
  1. Encourage an environment of open communication – Team members will often refrain from voicing their opinions in meetings as they feel too vulnerable to do so. Creating psychological safety is key to building a working environment that fosters interpersonal risk taking, which ultimately will motivate and encourage innovation.
  1. Stress the importance of learning – Building a culture of continuous learning will help overcome the challenge of skills gaps and the rate of digital transformations. When selecting team members, it is important to assess their ability and willingness to learn. The team should have the ability to learn fast and regularly skill up.

Building a high performing team does not happen by chance. ‘Effectively developing high performing teams involves identifying strengths and grouping people who collaborate well, and complement the differing talents, skills, and attributes to create a holistic force that works consistently towards meeting challenges and business goals’. Selecting individuals that can learn quickly, transform themselves, is also key in maintaining a high performing team not just today but tomorrow.