Anyone who has ever been part of a team can most likely tell you it’s not always easy forming the team and working together effectively. Structure, process, culture, politics, personality…teams are complicated. And if you’ve ever tried to better the working relationships of team members you probably know, that although not an easy task, that it doesn’t take $823,000 to establish functional high performance. I mean seriously, GSA, seriously! I’ve been to Vegas, for business and for fun, and trust me, both can be done enjoyably and efficiently on a reasonable budget. So, here are 7 stages to how to increasing team performance – for under $823,000:
- Orientation: When teams are forming – members usually wonder – why am I here? Where do I fit? What is my role? Will others accept me? They require some kind of answers before continuing. Before proceeding with the work of the team, it’s necessary to define purpose and team identity. If these things go unresolved then the team can often begin with disorientation, fear, and uncertainty.
- Trust Building: People want to know about one another – who are you? Team members want to know who they will work with, and what their expectations, agendas and competencies are, as well as communication styles, personalities, and work preferences. This occurs through sharing – sharing and a free exchange of feelings and ideas among team members lead to building trust. Trust is the foundation of any successful relationship. If trust is not established then honesty, accountability, and respect don’t exist.
- Goal Clarification: As work begins to get done – team members need to know – what are we doing? This starts with clarity about team goals and assumptions, what are the tasks and priorities to be accomplished, and includes the development of a team charter or vision. If goal clarification doesn’t occur, shared vision isn’t formed and skepticism and apathy can occur.
- Commitment: As the work of the team progresses – team members often wonder – how will we do it? At some point, discussions need to end, and decisions must be made on how the work is going to be achieved. How will risks and issues be managed? What resources are required for success, and how will resources, time and staff be managed? Without commitment, assigned roles and responsibilities, a clear decision making process, and proper resource allocation, high performance can be difficult to achieve.
- Implementation: Eventually teams will turn a corner as they begin to sequence work and complete tasks and deliverables. Teams will have determined – who does what, when and where? This is a time of scheduling and a time of action. Clear processes have been defined, alignment is in place, and disciplined task execution is underway. The team has now begun to move from creating to sustaining.
- High Performance: When the above methods and processes are mastered, the team has begun to achieve flexibility. The team can now begin to adapt goals and tasks as needed for success, and can agilely respond to the environment and internal and external factors. The team members have prevented overload, disharmony and dysfunction, and have developed a synergy and achieved a successful working relationship. At this stage the team can pat themselves on back and proudly begin to surpass expectations on the way to high performance.
- Renewal: Teams are complex and dynamic. Teams consist of people, and people can get tired or burnt out. Sometimes team members can wonder – why continue? To prevent burn out and boredom, it’s necessary at this stage for recognition and celebration of success. And it’s time to make any changes in skills mastery and roles and responsibilities, reflect on best practices, and harvest lessons learned in preparation for the next cycle of action.
*Based on the Drexler/Sibbet Team Performance Model methodology.
About Scott Span, MSOD: is President of Tolero Solutions Organizational Development & Change Management Consulting. Tolero Solutions specializes in facilitating sustainable growth by developing people and organizations to be more focused, effective, productive and profitable.
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