I remember studying English Literature at school, not my greatest achievement I have to say. However, I remember a phrase from one poem that we studied. I cannot remember the title or the poet, just the phrase. As far as I remember it went something like this: the hero of the poem – whoever he was – “ leapt onto his horse and rode of in all directions at once”.
Does that sound like your team – riding off in all directions at once? It’s not uncommon and its one of the reasons that as a leader there is hope. You can do more with what you’ve got, the secret is to get the team to all ride off in the same direction! Its like the guys in the picture of the yacht. If they were not all in the same place, working together, the boat would capsize and the race lost.
Many teams do not deliver the goods because they have never gelled into a team and they remain a group of individuals each riding off in a different direction. Based on the work of Pat MacMillan (The Performance Factor*) this two part article provides a simple diagnostic tool to help you assess how much of a team your team really is.
In Part 1 we looked at the impact on your team of:
In this second part we will look at:
Effective Team Processes
Team processes are not so much about individual tasking but are more about how the team interacts and functions as it makes decisions, solves problems and resolves conflicts. It’s about how the team members work together.
Solid relationships are essential in a team but they are not about friendships but professional relationships, about being able to work together well. They are also about developing a trust in and appreciation of fellow team members so that collectively the team can deal with setbacks, misunderstandings, conflicts as well as those plain and simple bad days.
Excellent communications is a pre-requisite for all the other characteristics. To function as a High Performance Team, members must understand not only how to share information in a way that others can receive but also to assume a responsibility for ensuring that they understand the communications that they receive.
The process of building a High Performance Team requires that the team, as a whole, take stock of itself against these characteristics. It must then, together, undertake an appropriate plan of action to achieve its full potential. This is necessarily a process of individual steps which inevitably takes time to mature, although it is possible to make rapid strides. For instance a days training on Responsible Communication can begin to have an impact the very next day.
As the team works, evaluates, learns and applies its learning, it will improve in performance as it becomes a High Performance Team. It will work more effectively, more collaboratively and refocus previously lost energy on achieving its purpose. More than that the coherence of the team will magnify its achievement as it begins to out perform its previous track record.
What You Can Do Today
Just as you did with the first three factors, sit down for half an hour and look at your team in the light of the questions set out in this article. Then develop an action plan. The Creative Leader Bulletin is currently running a series on how to build The Spirited Team and it will provide you with some ideas.
Then sit down with your team and do the whole assessment together as the first step to involving the team in their journey toward becoming a High Performance Team. You can also download the whole team assessment in pdf form and subscribe to The Creative Leader Bulletin.
Did you find this helpful in gaining new insights into your team? Please let us know.
*The Performance Factor, Pat MacMillan, B&H Publishing, ISBN-8-8054-2375-3