What goes on

Too many teams don’t fulfill their potential even though they are full of people with talent and experience who really know their stuff. They get frustrated because they can’t understand why and end up disappointed, de-motivated and call in a team building company.

Setting up a team properly takes a bit of time, effort and thought. You just have to choose whether you spend time and energy doing that up front or a whole lot more time and energy trying to fix it and being frustrated for as long as the team exists.

Five performance truths

The brutal reality of high performance life – this is what you need to know

  1. Too many teams have no clear sense of why they exist. Start with a clear purpose and then put the team together to make it happen . Teams start with a purpose. See Rule 13.
  2. The things that your team measures, the things that tell you if you’re winning, need to connect with its purpose. The chances are your team has too many measures or signposts that have little or nothing to do with your purpose, wasting time and energy.
  3. You need to pay attention to things you can’t measure with a number. Team confidence, for example. It’s vital for team success but it’s more of a feeling than a number.
  4. If your team isn’t clear on the beliefs, attitudes and behaviours it needs and wants, then your risk of failure is high. Getting clear on these will improve motivation and put the team in control.
  5. Encouraging behaviours you want to see isn’t enough. The minute you tolerate behaviours you don’t want to see, you’ve undone all your good work.

Three things to do

  1. Make sure your team has a clear and shared sense of why it exists, what it’s there to do, what success looks like.
  2. Be equally clear on the things you’re going to measure or assess that will tell you you’re on a winning path.
  3. Know the behaviours that are vital for success and motivation, practise them every day and stamp on any that you know are destructive, unhelpful or damaging.

A tool to get going

Susie’s story

Susie led a team that had been put together because her organisation, a big utility company, needed to change the things they could offer to their customers and to give them more value for money. So she assembled a team of in-house experts in different areas from finance, technology, sales, marketing and product development.

Six months in and the team was failing. Targets were being missed, the initial energy and passion was gone and while the team was busy and everyone was working hard, the results didn’t reflect the talent round the table.

She reassessed, spent some time making sure the team was clear on its purpose, the things that would tell them they were on track and the behaviours they needed to practise. The team felt liberated – they were clearer, more disciplined, more focused and felt ready to challenge things that might get in the way of success. The results started to follow pretty quickly. Susie is much happier about the team and still looks forward to yoga every week.