High-Performing Team > High Performers (Part 1)
How to build a high-performing team?
"Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships”
- Michael Jordan.
I keep on reminding this to myself, so that I never loose focus from building high performing teams!
The reality is that one doesn’t just hire a high-performing team. Hiring high quality individuals is just the first step in making a high-performing team. This practice will, to some extent, ensure excellence and quality from individuals, but over the years, I have experienced that a leader owns the performance of the team and has to build the culture of performance, constantly. You have to bring the individuals together and then create an environment to nurture their relationships, that can in turn foster their individual and collective performance at work.
So if you are just starting this ever-evolving process of building a high-performing team, remember that it really depends on company to company, culture to culture and leader to leader.
Here are some learnings that can help you to build a rock-solid foundation for your team:
Create Solid Norms for Your Team
The first step for building a high performing team is to set the norms early on. Essentially, a team should know what it stands for.
For example, a team might disagree and debate internally but it should agree externally
and stand for each other.
This is one of the most critical norms for me. I really believe in the power of internal disagreements and debates. But I also believe that it is equally important for a team to agree and commit (or even disagree and commit) before communicating with external stakeholders.
Having shared values for a team that determines how the team should behave, especially in times of challenges and disagreements, helps to build a working relationship from the very beginning, when a team is coming together.
Align Your Team to a Common Goal
In one of my earlier posts, I had stressed on the importance of aligning your team to a north star. This becomes even more important when you want to build a high performing team.
Aligning your team to a common goal not only gives clarity about where the team wants to go, but also helps minimize personal conflicts. It clarifies what short-term and long-term success for the team could look like.
Collaborate and Communicate
It is important to set up a culture of collaboration to boost a team’s performance. When different team members collaborate, they start to build trust in each other and communicate more freely. When team members begin to believe in each other’s power, they can win championships together, not just games.
Constant collaboration and communication also helps to reinforce the norms of the group and the common goal of the team. High-performing teams use these opportunities to keep each other focussed on the message.
Set-up Trustworthy Feedback Loops
Leaders can not eliminate conflict totally. In fact, some of it is healthy and warranted. However, it is important to create channels to manage it so that its impact stays positive. Strive to create open platforms where team members can share their feedback or any point of conflict without hesitation or any fear of repercussion.
The foundation of these platforms is trust which means that team members trust their leader to act with fairness, genuinely help to find resolutions and pull in the needed experts as and when needed. On the leader’s part, they have to ensure that the behavior is consistent and in-line with the norms set for the group.
Having set-up high-performing teams, I know it’s not an easy task. But when you have worked in one, you know the difference it makes.
I would love to know how you have built high performing teams.
In part 2, I talk about how to scale up high-performing teams. Read on!