The large majority of our work at Collingwood is helping our clients to build high performing teams globally. We do this across all business functions but our clients are currently investing a lot in their sales and innovation teams. The innovation teams to develop products and services to disrupt their target markets and the sales teams to generate revenue for them.
Our clients all take a different approach to building their high performing teams but here are 8 common steps that you could consider as part of your strategy.
1. Recruit the right team members
A pretty fundamental but critical step! We have seen all sorts of approaches here from the people burners (take a punt and see if the new employee works out, if not then replace them) through to some very sophisticated recruitment processes. It is critical that you have a common culture and set of values that you can recruit aligned individuals against. You may think that you only need to hire a high performer but if not aligned to your culture then a quick exit or a total disruption of the rest of your team is likely. You are more likely to create a toxic environment rather than a high performing team.
2. Focus on team dynamics
You must have a clear vision and agreed objectives known and bought into by your whole team. They must know what is expected of the team and how each individual will contribute towards the objectives. You must avoid individuals going off at tangents and not all heading in the same direction. Communication is key as well as nurturing an environment where everyone knows their strengths and weaknesses and are keen to support one another.
3. Have measurable performance metrics
Deciding on what to measure is key here. Your metrics need to involve activities that will contribute to achieving your agreed vision and objectives. It should measure both team and individual performance. It should be used to improve the team and not used as a stick to beat them with. It should provide an opportunity for everyone to improve through focused coaching and mentoring.
4. Resolve conflicts and create harmony
Conflict can be very healthy but can equally be very damaging to team moral. You need to assess what is happening and ensure it remains healthy. When not, you need to nip it in the bud quickly. By creating an open environment, you will help for conflict to be dealt with by your team themselves.
5. Set clearly defined roles and responsibilities
It is so important that everyone knows what is expected of them and their role towards achieving the team's objectives. It is also important that the team understand one another's responsibilities.
6. Identify an under performing team member and help them to improve
A key responsibility of a leader is to help your team to develop and ensure that are equipped to achieve the objectives you have set for them. Leaving a team member to struggle is no good for their longevity with you but will also frustrate their fellow members.
7. Create space for innovation and improvement
Creating and nurturing a culture that promotes innovation and improvement is vital if you are to keep pushing the boundaries to delight your customers. An open environment that promotes new ideas also needs to be supported by one that discusses, debates and implements them effectively.
The power of a team can ensure you deliver your vision and objectives but a bad team can remove any hope too!
A high performing team is a blend of goal-oriented professionals , experts in their respective fields, responsible for planning, executing and yielding outstanding results. Excellent performance can be only achieved if there is powerful thought leadership, goals shared, clear communications, interpersonal conflict resolution, harmony and trust among team members.