While teams have always been important to organisations, the need for collaboration and collective problem solving has never been greater.
The challenges we all face have become – and will continue to be – so complex that without excellent teamwork, organisations will fail to thrive and make the most of potential opportunities.
What is it that teams bring to organisations? At their simplest, teams are an organisational structure to manage work in the most efficient and cost-effective way.
At their best, they are a vehicle for innovation, complex problem solving and superior decision making. High-performing teams are a true competitive edge for any organisation.
On the same page
A high performing team needs to be in sync, which means that they are working together smoothly and harmoniously, with a shared understanding of goals, processes and expectations.
When a team is in sync, its members are on the same page, collaborating effectively, communicating well and complementing each other’s efforts to achieve common objectives.
So, what can you do to be more in sync with your team? We’ve identified 10 core factors that are essential for success:
The challenges we all face have become – and will continue to be – so complex that without excellent teamwork, organisations will fail to thrive and make the most of potential opportunities
1. Establish a clear team reason
Teams that possess a well-defined and aspirational reason for being tend to outperform those that lack direction. A clear team purpose serves as a guiding star, offering motivation and resilience during challenging times.
Work collaboratively with your team to identify a reason that is grounded in values and principles, resonating with each team member on a personal level.
This should be enduring, providing a profound sense of connection and meaning to all members.
2. Maintain a laser-like focus on results
Clarity of results is the cornerstone of high-performing teams. Without it, team members may become disorientated, working in isolation and inadvertently hindering one another’s progress.
This can often lead to frustration, conflicts and impaired relationships within the team.
To prevent this, ensure that your team remains entirely focused on the outcomes they are accountable for delivering together. This laser-like focus on results helps align efforts and foster a sense of shared responsibility.
A clear team purpose serves as a guiding star, offering motivation and resilience during challenging times
3. Develop effective team routines
Routines within a team encompass the established practices, meeting schedules, tools and processes used to get things done.
Effective team routines are essential for optimising collaboration, streamlining communication and boosting overall productivity.
They facilitate the coordination of efforts and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Regularly assess and refine these routines to ensure they align with the team’s evolving needs and objectives.
4. Nurture strong team relationships
In a high-performing team, relationships are paramount. Without effective relationships, a team is not a team – it is just a bunch of people who all happen to work for the same leader.
Effective relationships are not only about getting along but also about trust, respect and mutual support. Continuously prioritise the development of trust and meaningful interactions among team members.
Encourage open communication, active listening, and empathy to fortify these relationships.
Effective relationships are not only about getting along but also about trust, respect and mutual support. Continuously prioritise the development of trust and meaningful interactions among team members
5. Enhance team resilience
While resilience is often considered an individual trait, it is equally crucial for teams to cultivate collective resilience.
A resilient team is better equipped to navigate challenges and setbacks effectively. Resilience within a team is contagious, with the strength of one member uplifting others.
Teams contribute significantly to individual resilience by providing support, a sense of belonging and the fulfilment of shared values.
Promote conversations within the team about workload, stress management and support mechanisms to enhance overall team resilience.
6. Create a common identity and inclusive culture
Every team naturally possesses a basic identity derived from its name and function within the organisation.
However, for a team to achieve high performance, it requires a deeper, shared identity that forges a strong sense of inclusion among its members.
Engage in regular dialogues with your team to explore and reinforce this identity further. Consider developing unique team symbols, slogans or sayings exclusive to team members, fostering a sense of unity and belonging.
A resilient team is better equipped to navigate challenges and setbacks effectively. Resilience within a team is contagious, with the strength of one member uplifting others
7. Increase interdependence
Silos are common challenges in many organisations. To elevate team performance, it is important to promote collaboration and interdependence among team members.
Emphasise the value of working together on critical tasks and complex problem-solving.
True synergy within a team emerges when members actively rely on one another’s expertise, knowledge and support. Encourage collaboration and create opportunities for team members to work on projects together.
8. Celebrate similarities and differences
Similarities and differences are both extremely important in a high-performing team.
Similarities establish a foundation of trust and psychological safety within the team. They create a sense of belonging and common ground.
However, differences are equally vital as they are the root of innovation, problem solving and expanding team perspectives.
Teams that embrace both similarities and differences are better equipped to avoid ‘groupthink’ and are more adept at challenging the status quo.
Encourage team members to acknowledge their similarities and celebrate their differences.
True synergy within a team emerges when members actively rely on one another’s expertise, knowledge and support
9. Broaden the team’s perspective
A team does not operate in isolation; it is an integral part of a larger system comprising stakeholders, clients, suppliers and external influences.
To achieve high performance, teams must expand their perspectives to encompass these external factors.
By understanding the diverse influences and their impact on the team’s performance, teams can make informed decisions and strategise effectively.
High-performing teams adopt a holistic approach, regularly examining themselves from multiple viewpoints, both from within and outside the organisation.
Encourage your team to adopt an ‘outside-in’ perspective by considering the viewpoints of their stakeholders and clients.
10. Sustain high performance
Achieving high performance is a commendable feat but sustaining it over time requires ongoing attention and deliberate action.
While some teams may stumble upon high performance temporarily due to chance or pure luck, sustained excellence demands intentional effort and continuous improvement.
Foster a culture of continuous improvement within your team by regularly evaluating its performance, facilitating constructive discussions and exploring opportunities for enhancement.
Shooting for sustained success
Encourage team members to take ownership of their collective success and to proactively identify areas for improvement.
By implementing these 10 core strategies, you can enhance your team’s cohesion, productivity and ability to tackle complex challenges.
Ultimately, this will provide your organisation with a competitive edge in today’s dynamic and demanding environment.
Recognise that these strategies are not one-time fixes but rather ongoing commitments that, when embraced wholeheartedly, will drive your team toward sustained excellence and success.
If you enjoyed this, read: Redefining high performance for the new world of work