Igniting Your Team To New Levels Of Performance
Whether you are seeking to create a high performance work team
or a high performance culture; there are seven steps for creating an
environment where high performance and teamwork can thrive.
1. Identify and Clarify the Purpose for the Team
People must understand the why behind what they are doing. Once
the purpose for the team is crystalized and talking points are clearly
outlined, it is the initiator of the team’s role to connect the dots for
people to see how they connect to it. Communicating an inspiring
vision for the people on the team and mapping what success looks like
when it is achieved is a foundational element for congealing a group of
people together and getting them geared up to work together in unison.
2. Select a Leader
The team’s leader does not have to be the person who invents the
possibility and purpose for the team; it does need to be a person who
accepts the responsibility for shepherding and guiding the team to
success. The leader’s job is to be present—to be there for the team.
The best leaders select the right people, inspire them towards a vision
and back out of the way during the planning stage—unless they are
specifically asked for guidance.
3. Establish Rules
People need to know what is expected from them, and from the
team. People need to know and understand where the boundaries are
regarding decision-making, autonomy and performance. Giving people
the rules of the game before they agree to play it allows for people
to opt in or opt out of the team and the game. Advanced clarity of
expectations also reduces unnecessary problems, reduces ambiguity
and confusion and serves to mitigate poor performance and unwanted
turnover on the team.
4. Select the Players
Whether you are building an enterprise or a team of people to accomplish
a project, it is crucial that you select the right people for the
right roles, for the right reasons. When this happens people join the
team for the right reasons; which is the baseline team engagement.
When people are engaged, they have a strong desire to bring value—to
be a contributor. They enjoy the type of work they are doing and are
able to connect their work to the bigger picture.
The best team dynamics happen when there is a variety of people
who bring their uniqueness to the team. Beyond competencies and
skills, it’s important to consider unique traits that each team member
brings to the table and how those unique traits can be leveraged for
optimal creativity and innovation.
5. Set the Level
Level-setting allows each member of the team a new opportunity to
begin again. During a level set, team members explore their limiting
beliefs and barriers to working with others in a productive and effective
manner, and do the necessary work to unpack those factors that
get in the way. The team as a whole is challenged to work together in
experiential learning in ways they never considered.
Even the most effective, astute and self-aware people discover limits
that were previously hidden from their conscious view. The team lays
out the pathway for the best way to work together, how they will
resolve personality conflicts and internal challenges with dynamics
on the team. At the completion of the level set, the team creates a
collective possibility for the team that is inspiring to each and every
member of the team.
The best approach for a leader during planning is to be a source
for inspiration, questions, and guidance. Leaders who step too far in
to planning create teams that are dependent on the leader and lack
creativity. If the leader notices a problem with the plan, rather than
pointing it out, it is much more empowering to ask questions that
provoke the team members to activate their critical thinking skills to
answer and think potential challenges through.
7. Check in, Track Progress, Celebrate Success
When people are aware of the milestone meetings and rely on
regular feedback it reduces uncertainly and unnecessary stress. Laying
out the stages of organizational effectiveness, beginning with what it
means to be operating in formulation and concentration and then
defining criteria for low, moderate and high momentum gives the team
an opportunity to self regulate, correct and celebrate as they see fit.
Utilizing a customized version of the agile methodology is an
excellent means to keep progress on track and support the team in
attaining momentum with their project, program or goal. Daily
stand ups, bi-weekly declarations and intention setting as well as bi
monthly retrospectives give teams a structure they can count on and
gives the team healthy guardrails to work independently and remain
responsibility to each other and the organization as a whole.
While knowing and understanding are two very different distinctions,
doing is the link that shifts knowing to understanding. For the
impatient leader, doing may be a challenge because progress is most
often only experienced incrementally. Building a high performance
team is not about exponential breakthroughs, if they happen great;
however if sustainability is your goal, impatience is your enemy. Teams
respond best to a system that allows them to learn, move forward,
fall, learn from mistakes, move forward again and sustain progress
over time. When high concentration and effort is celebrated, and low
momentum is acknowledged and genuinely appreciated teams build
confidence and fortitude to stay the course. PM-ITM
Magi Graziano, as seen on NBC, is the CEO of KeenAlignment, a speaker,
employee recruitment and engagement expert and author of The Wealth of
Talent. Through her expansive knowledge and captivating presentations, Magi
provides her customers with actionable, practical ideas to maximize their effectiveness
and ability to create high-performing teams. With more than 20
years’ experience as a top producer in the Recruitment and Search industry,
she empowers and enables leaders to bring transformational thinking to the
Connect Magi Graziano
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