Having a clear and commonly understood purpose is an enormous motivating force for members of an organisation. That purpose is most usually achieved through high performing teams who are constantly referring back to the aims which they were brought together to reach, and who are on course to succeed.
Of course, having a clear purpose does not mean having fixed purpose.
High performing teams do not identify a goal and then blindly career towards it regardless of possible changing circumstances.
High performing teams recognise that purpose may need to be amended as time goes by. They also understand that the methods they use to reach their aims can alter too. In broad terms, they have a flexibility of approach.
The best performing teams tend to:
High performing teams understand that relationships are key to achieving results. They know that fostering trust with each other will garner better results.
They also understand that taking risks in these relationships – being open and honest with each other - is critical to establishing this trust.
But further, high performing teams also recognise that their relationships with people outside their team, for example other teams, stakeholders and sponsors etc, are equally of intense importance.
At JCP we have often found that a team’s performance is made or broken by its relationships with outside groups and individuals. That’s why our high performing team framework ensures a strong focus on consciously identifying and meeting the needs of all parties involved, both internally and externally to their own team.
This helps better understand the wider context in which they exist and prevents driving towards solutions which benefit nobody but themselves. All members of high performing teams are both engaged and committed. The promises and commitments they make to both others and each other are taken seriously and carried through – what they say they are going to do, they do.
Team members challenge each other. That’s because they consciously work at using the behaviours that are likely to be most effective in a particular situation, rather than toeing the line or just doing what they have always done and hoping for an acceptable outcome.
Their meetings are not dry and boring; rather members are prepared to confront and deal with the real issues rather than skate around them, in the spirit of finding the best solutions.High performing team meetings are based on:
High performing teams focus on behaviours. But they do not ignore getting the right processes in place to help them do their job. As well as properly planned meetings with clear data capture and actions accurately recorded, the team measures day to day activity, setting long and short term goals and regularly references against the overarching objectives.
Measurement enables a focus on continuous improvement.
Many teams want to do the best job they can, but high performing teams want to make sure they do an even better job next time. They put processes in place to measure activity and capture performance data. They identify the best resources, even if they are outside the team. And critically, they are not afraid to ask for help.
It’s not for everyone. But when purpose, relationships, behaviours, processes and outputs are aligned and teams begin to achieve, comradeship and warmth begin to develop. More than that, the high performing teams we work with tell us they actually start to have fun while working toward excellence.
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