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HIGH-PERFORMANCE-TEAMS

High-performance teams generate more than ordinary teams. They use the different strengths and diversity of the team members as a plus point and combine their motivation, creativity, initiative and know-how to achieve outstanding results as a team and successfully master challenges in the interests of the company. The point is: Peak performance as a result of good cooperation does not just happen by chance. We accompany teams and managers on their way towards high achievement.

SUCCESS, COMMITMENT
AND HIGH PERFORMANCE

When they see the term ‘high performance’ or ‘best performance’, most people think of successful athletes on the podium or Marvel’s Avengers. In the context of work, the associations go more in the direction of overtime, pressure and stress. But that is not the point here.

WORKING IN A HIGH-PERFORMANCE TEAM

The secret is a modus operandi which seems to supply itself with its own energy. One is so much in flow, both individually and in the team, that the work seems to get done by itself. People in the high-performance team ‘sail close hauled’ to pick up as much speed as possible. High pace, high-quality results and a high degree of cohesion are what sets them apart. The reward is a thoroughly well-earned sense of pride in the joint achievement.

THOUGHT-THROUGH AND COMPETENT
TEAM DEVELOPMENT MEASURES

In our work with teams (often management teams), our coaches and consultants combine their comprehensive know-how in the areas of team development, (team) coaching, team building and profiling. And - depending on the objectives and initial situation – they blend in-depth interventions with concrete, easily deployable tools for optimizing cooperation.

We can draw on decades of experience in accompanying teams on their way to becoming high-performance teams. Particularly important: The approach chosen must fit the team. This means working at eye level with our clients and their teams.

Do you see special potential in your team and want to enhance it? Please contact us!

DON´TS FOR
HIGH-PERFORMANCE-TEAMS

In order to achieve best performance as a team, it is helpful to be aware of and avoid some typical pitfalls:

UNNECESSARY MEETINGS? BYE BYE.

High-performance teams do not hold meetings unless they really help. They only take place when it is absolutely useful and necessary. And then only those who can contribute something take part in the meetings.

HOT AIR? CIAO.

High performance teams do not beat around the bush. If everyone trusts each other, critical points come straight onto the table, in 1-to-1 talks and team meetings. It's about moving forward together, not about blaming people or nit picking. Address it, learn something from it and work together.

WAIT? NO WAY.

When it comes to decision-making, nobody in high-performance teams waits for the ‘top brass’ to show them the way. Personal responsibility is the order of the day. Instead of chewing over problems, solutions are tried out. The faster you find out together whether the solution works, the sooner customer needs are satisfied.

110% WORKLOAD? NOPE.

High-performance teams do not work 110% of the time in grim concentration. Fun and humour also play an important part. Successes are celebrated in line with the motto "Work hard - play hard". This creates the team spirit that is also needed even when projects fail.

KEEP ONESELF TO ONESELF? DOESN’T WORK.

In top teams, everyone has more than their own workload in mind. What counts is team-wide effectiveness. Mutual support is given as a matter of course. But at the same time it is clear who is working on what and how roles, tasks and responsibilities are distributed. If everyone knows what they can expect from each other, things run smoothly as a team.

THIS IS HOW WE PUT TEAMS ON THE
ROAD TO SUCCESS

CLEAR AWAY OBSTACLES

Are there conflicts in the team? Are important competence areas missing in the team? Are the tools necessary for good work missing? Is the working environment constructive or obstructive? For successful teamwork, it is essential to identify and systematically address existing cooperation hurdles.

REVIEW LEADERSHIP STYLE

Not all management styles are suitable for high-performance teams, which usually display a degree of self-organisation and delegation of authority. Situational leadership is normal. Unfortunately, it is not always immediately apparent to the designated team leader whether his or her own behaviour and leadership style is a help or a hindrance to the team. Coaching interviews and team analyses such as 360-degree feedback can help here.

BUILD TRUST

The most important basis for good teamwork is mutual trust. Confidence-building measures range from simple team-building activities to intensive discussion rounds. It is important to allow for individualism, to be aware of people’s preferences and to make use of diversity. Knowing about each other, how everyone in the team ticks and what individual strengths and weaknesses are present forms the basis for good teamwork.

AGILE PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Agile working is not a must for high-performance teams, but elements of it can be found in many such teams. It is worth considering whether a collaboration model such as Scrum or joint processing of task packages according to Kanban logic will move the team forward.

MUTUAL SUPPORT

Meetings are used by high-performance teams to arrive at a common level of information. Who needs what from whom right now? And who can support whom? The division of work, processes and cooperation are examined and improvements are sought and agreed at regular intervals.

Teams that take the above points into account develop self-reflection and development skills to achieve continuously better performance. This is how they succeed in effectively bringing together different personalities, specialist expertise, ways of thinking and cultural diversity.

Contact us

As an organizational consultant and coach, Kristina Evers sees herself as a catalyst for change.

Kristina Evers

Partner

+49.228-25 90 85.0

CONTACT

DIFFERENT APPROACHES TO DEVELOPING A HIGH-PERFORMANCE TEAM

5 TEAM DYSFUNCTIONALITY EXAMPLES

With his book ‘5 Dysfunctions of a Team’, Patrick Lencioni has written what amounts to a standard work about five central problem areas in teams:

  1. Lack of trust: In teamwork, each member has to be able to trust each other member. This means dealing with weaknesses, mistakes, fears and misunderstandings in a transparent and open manner, which only works if nobody has to fear negative effects, i.e. if it is ‘safe’ for everyone to be frank, admit mistakes and ask questions.
  2. Fear of conflict: Teams that trust each other and are not afraid to openly address issues and discuss problems and decisions are more successful. If divergent opinions are discussed transparently and things are questioned constructively, the best answers can be found together. Then teams can fully exploit the potential of their collective intelligence.
  3. Lack of commitment: Only teams that are able to discuss in a committed and unfiltered way can achieve real commitment. Even if a part of the team disagrees or previously disagreed. Because they ensure that all opinions and ideas are considered and weighed up. Everyone knows that their experience matters.
  4. Avoidance of responsibility: Teams that have bindingly agreed on decisions and performance standards do not hesitate to remind each other of the need to comply with these agreements. They communicate transparently and do not rely on their supervisor as the final authority. Instead, they address their colleagues directly.
  5. Lack of focus on results: Teams that trust each other, approach conflicts constructively, act in a cohesive manner and remind each other of their responsibilities can achieve top performance together. And they can pursue the team goals single-mindedly. They also clearly indicate when individual interests stand in the way of the team's goals.

 

Did you recognize your team in any of the dysfunctions? Then let's work together to remove that obstacle.

ESTABLISHING A CULTURE OF FAILURE TOLERANCE

If something goes wrong, a person is singled out who ‘screwed things up’, to use plain English. He or she is therefore the scapegoat and solely responsible for ensuring that things never go wrong again. Maintaining this culture of searching for culprits will only lead to one thing: inhibited colleagues whose main concern is to avoid mistakes and who consequently do not take risks or think unconventionally.

Mistakes happen. One can learn from mistakes. No one is born with a perfect set of skills and knowledge. Many teams we work with have developed an effective ‘mistakes culture’. This does not mean mistakes should be made intentionally, because that would be pointless. It is about making daring to look at mistakes directly, seeking help and learning together as a team.

As a manager, it is important to set a good example. Can you, as a manager, imagine telling the whole team what your biggest ‘mistake’ was last month, quarter or year? Sure enough, that takes effort. But it is worth taking this step. Try giving it a different name: Can you imagine telling your team what your biggest learning opportunity was last month, quarter or year? That feels completely different for most people.

DRAWING UP A COOPERATION MANUAL

Drawing up a manual for cooperation may sound a little overdone and antiquated, but it is an effective way of advancing team development. Often referred to as a ‘playbook’, this manual contains concise information about the purpose, mission and values of the team. The values describe what is important to the team. It also contains principles of thinking and behaviour, as well as specific information about team activities - whether it be meeting procedures, processes, decision-making, or other aspects of collaboration. It also contains descriptions of items such as the tools and software used. Such a playbook provides orientation especially when onboarding new colleagues, for instance.

But the process of creating a collaboration playbook is just as important as the content. Starting from what is already working well, the team identifies the points that need to be changed a joint process. Solutions are sought by means of an iterative process. In this way, exactly those skills are developed and practiced that a high-performance team needs: the ability to reflect and develop at eye level.

OBJECTIVES AND KEY RESULTS

Objectives and Key Results, OKR for short, is a goal management system that helps organizations to implement their strategy and better focus on the issues and workstreams that create real value.

Objectives describe the goals to be achieved. It is about what is really new, i.e. which new level should be reached. This should not be confused with the achievement of sales targets that can be measured in monetary terms. These arise as a result of having achieved the objectives. The Key Results describe measurably whether a team or organization is on the right track to achieve the objectives.

OKRs are often defined on a quarterly basis. They are derived from the corporate strategy top-down by management and bottom-up through employees' experience and knowledge. Regular meetings aid the communication that a team needs to focus on the goals and work well.

There is much more to say about how OKRs can facilitate high-performance teams efficiently. We have shown numerous teams how they can use OKRs to work in a focused, goal-oriented and at the same time self-organized way.

SCRUM AND OTHER AGILE APPROACHES

Agile working is a buzzword, and there is a large range of collaboration models to choose from. The best known is the ‘Scrum’ approach, which has its origins in software development. Jeff Sutherland’s book ‘Scrum’ promises that you will end up "...doing twice the work in half the time" – which exactly nails down what high-performance teams are for.

But whether Scrum provides the right solutions for your work context - and whether all recommendations from this model necessarily apply to your team - is worth putting into question. Maybe you are already doing things that you find in Scrum? Elements from different agile approaches can be combined to set up a good and efficient collaboration model.

HOW DOES GOOGLE DO IT?

Google would not be so successful if there were not an enormous number of high-performance teams there. And even better: Google shares its findings with the whole world. From Google's point of view, the keys to top performance are as follows.

  1. Psychological safety: Being able to work confidently, knowing that there are no threats. Example: People are not chastised or made fun of for making mistakes.
  2. Co-dependence: Knowing that you cannot achieve the goal you are pursuing alone. Being able to rely on and support each other.
  3. Structure and clarity: Clarity regarding the objective and the division of tasks.
  4. Significance of the work: Feeling that the work you do has a deeper meaning that is in line with your own values.
  5. Impact of work: Knowing that what you do personally as an individual is an important part of something big.

Often these points cannot be applied 1:1 to teams. We help managers and teams to get clear about their most important values and principles within the team and underpin these with concrete practical examples and tools.