Highly Performing Teams

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Posted: 09/05/16

Do you have effective and highly performing teams? If you’re not sure how you would answer this question, the following information can help.

1st Purpose - Vision, Mission and Values

In its simplest form, the business purpose is its reason for being. However, not all businesses will have considered creating a purpose let alone articulating it to their employees and other stakeholders. Your purpose will give clarity to the vision, mission and values of the organisation and its functioning teams. To define your business purpose you need clarity on what your vision, mission and values are:

What is our Vision - it must be aspirational, embracing the future and emerges from the sense of purpose.

What is our Mission – it defines what an organization is, who the primary customers are, identifying the products and services, and describes the geographical location in which you operate.

What are our Values - Values shape the culture, the way people interact with each other and the environment they wish to work in. A team’s value set must be created and committed to by all of the team giving rise to a common approach of cooperation and collaboration, embracing integrity, and recognizing success.

Leadership can influence purpose but cannot define it and only when teams embrace and take ownership will it be sustained and really matter.

2nd The importance of defining Roles and Responsibilities

Within an effective team, it is vital that individuals have clearly defined roles and an understanding of their role, function and responsibility. This will give clarity to their tasks, what is expected within the team and who they report to. If there are areas of considerable overlap and people are unsure of their roles and responsibilities this can lead to inefficiencies and disputes, reducing performance.

3rd Operating Procedures

You can apply personal and team development programmes supporting the improvement of team effectiveness but if the operating procedures are not addressed in conjunction with these programmes the team will fall back to the default state of average performance. Ask yourself the following questions. Do you see areas for improvement in your working practices?

  • Could we communicate more effectively with face to face meeting or phone calls rather than emails?
  • How well do we run our meetings? Does everyone turn up on time, do we have an agenda and do the meetings run to time?
  • Do we have meetings too often or not often enough?
  • Why do we have large distribution lists for emails?
  • Do emails sometimes cause offense due to misunderstanding?
  • Would we benefit from having a more open plan office?
  • Do we take time to plan?
  • Do we take time to monitor performance and celebrate success?

If teams do not make improvements in their operating processes, this can easily lead to misunderstanding, conflict and poor performance. Emails alone are one of the most common reasons for misunderstanding and the breakdown of relationships, especially when overused.

4th Relationships

It is our view at BlueSky Experiences that at the heart of a highly performing team, there are robust and effective relationships. These relationships start with the development of personal effectiveness, the awareness of oneself and others in the team. The understanding that everyone sees the world differently, will act differently, when tackling tasks, especially when the pressure is on. Individuals in a highly performing team will embrace behavioural diversity, engaging in fierce and challenging conversations, reaching a united decision. A team’s ability to engage in challenging conversations will only take place if the relationships are strong and they have agreed a team culture where everyone’s input is valid.

5th Inter-Team Relationships

The most common reason given for poor organisational performance - Silo Mentality - the inability to communicate effectively between teams, when team’s become inwardly focused and resist sharing information and resources with other teams within the organisation. This mentality can occur in any size of organisation or department. This area of team effectiveness is often viewed as the most challenging. However if a leadership team within an organisation is viewed as highly performing and demonstrates an environment that people would wish to replicate this is a good starting point to improve inter team relationships.

All of the above functions of high performance are intrinsically linked together and no more so when trying to break down silo mentality. Improvements in operating procedures of an organisation will make a big difference to the inter team relationships and allow for the development of stronger relationships across the organisation.

At BlueSky Experiences we have designed team building and development programmes using a mix of behavioural styles and experiential learning activities. This combination of behavioural styles and hands-on practice with experiential activities is proving very successful with our clients, meeting their expectations and evidencing a return on investment. 

If you would like to learn more on how we can support you in your journey from good to great performance, please do contact the BlueSky Experiences Team on 01738 840 804 or info@blueskyexperiences.com.

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