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Building a High Performance Team – Where Do You Start?

A high performance team is not simply a collection of highly talented and capable individuals.  A high performance team predictably executes strategy and delivery because they develop and reward coordination, collaboration and achievement within and between teams.  They have a team development plan and don’t leave the function (or dysfunction) of the team to chance.

They don’t compete against themselves because their roles are clearly defined and their performance and compensation systems don’t pit individuals or teams against each other.  Performance is defined as both results (what got produced), as well as, impact/behavior (how production occurred).  High performing teams need very little management oversight because they are empowered and responsible for the functional activity within the team and accountable for how the team performs.

Team and individual compensation are tied to achieving team goals and individual goals respectively.     The performance bias is towards collective team performance, versus individual contribution.  Having said that, because team performance is highly valued, marginal and under performing individual contributors are not tolerated long by a team dedicated to achieving excellence.  How an individual conducts him/herself and contributes to building a cohesive team of trusted colleagues driven to achieve team performance goals is valued highly.

High performance teams have a team development plan that actively cultivates, rewards and has the following qualities:

  • Team collaboration, open communication and respectful behavior are specifically developed, measured as part of total performance and rewarded.
  • They hold each other accountable for results and how they produce those results.
  • Believe that living the core values contributes to outstanding performance and professional satisfaction.
  • They are flexible and can rapidly adapt to problems and take advantage of opportunities as they arise.
  • They are focused on and totally committed to achieving specific measurable goals.
  • Individual development is encouraged and nurtured.
  • They deal with problems, failures and challenges in an open, honest and timely fashion.
  • They encourage excellence and reward achievement.
  • They do not tolerate under performance or behavior that is inconsistent with team performance and cohesion.
  • They require all levels of the organization to continuously improve.
  • High performance teams are lead by leaders who are annually assessed by their staffs, peers and leaders on a broad spectrum of business performance, leadership and core values dimensions.  (see High Performance Executives)
  • They produce greater growth, profit and professional opportunities for their staff than their industry peers.
  • They have less turnover, lawsuits and other wasted expenses and energy than their industry peers.

Keys to Success

Building and sustaining a high performance team requires leadership and a sustained commitment to break out of old behaviors, habits and ways of doing business while new and more effective ones can be adopted and implemented. It requires individuals to continuously stretch and grow beyond what they thought possible.  You may find this page helpful: Common Barriers to High Performance Teams.

As your partner we collaborate with you in designing, implementing and refining the team development plan and process each step of the way. Odyssey’s experienced consultants bring an integrated suite of coaching, workshops, business planning, assessments, processes, and tools to build a high performance team. 

How would you and others rate your team?  Take our High Performance Team Assessment and see how your team is doing.

If you’d like to learn more about building a high performance team, please call Tim Allard at 434-984-0425 or email tim@odysseyhps.com

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