Creating High Performing Teams – Part 3

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Increasing alignment and accountability

Alignment and accountability address the critical challenge of getting and keeping everyone in the team, and indeed the organisation, are moving towards the same goal, at the same pace.  I have previously made the comparison of rowing a boat.  Imagine your organisation is in a rowing boat race, your goal is the finish line and all of your staff are rowing.  What would happen if your team members were not rowing in the same direction?  What would happen if team members were not putting in a similar effort?  You may reach the shore but its highly unlikely that you would be the first boat to do so!

  1. The first aspect to get right is ground rules.  Ground rules are the agreed behaviours and standards and what action should be taken if the ground rules are not met.  Ground rules should be short, sharp and unambiguous.  Unfortunately, most teams either have no ground rules, rules which are vague or have set the bar far too high with unrealistic ground rules.  Some organisations tend to rely solely on the values of the organisation as the basis of the ground rules.  However, more often than not, these values are simply too vague to act as ground rules.
  2. Surprisingly setting team goals and objectives is often neglected.  Clearly if your team does not know what they need to achieve then they do not know which direction to row towards.  Team goals and objectives must be clear, measurable and have a deadline to them.
  3. The best teams hold themselves to account.  A high performing team is a team that operates at its highest level, that constantly pushes its limits and seeks to achieve even more – an exec level process of holding people to account does not achieve this.

Instead of a parent-child style of accountability in the workplace, a model more resembling a football team is preferable — you’re a team, after all.

The footballers aren’t invested because the coach told them they had to be, or because the coach will punish them for failure.

The footballers know beyond all doubt that success and failure of the team rests on the shoulders of each individual’s performance, but they are all a team when it comes to succeeding.

They perform solo, and yet they are bound up together through their shared passion for, and investment in, their chosen endeavour.

Each person is responsible to the other team members for giving their absolute best because of their collective pursuit a win.  One of the weakest types of teams is the one where all leadership is vested in a single individual.  This may sound strange as the majority of teams do traditionally only have one leader.  However, having only one leader can prevent the team from utilising its whole collective ability.  In high performing teams peers share power and responsibility and each member of the team is both a leader and a follower.  The leadership structure is fluid and is designed to take full advantages of the strengths and capabilities of all its members.

The next part in our Creating High Performing Teams series focuses on the ability to communicate effectively within your organisation as we go through the 7 C’s to effective communication.

For more information on Creating High Performing Teams please attend our FREE webinar on the 24th Feb.

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