The 5 Pillars of Team Performance

The 5 Pillars of Team Performance

Team performance is a topic that has fascinated me for years… Why is it that some teams consistently produce superior results while others struggle to make the cut?

Why was the Manchester United Football Club so dominant under the stewardship of Sir Alex Ferguson; winning 13 Premier League titles, 5 FA Cups and 2 UEFA Champions Leagues? Was their performance only the result of having players the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, David Beckham and Ryan Giggs?

Why was the Chicago Bulls so dominant under the stewardship of Phil Jackson; winning six NBA Championships between 1991 and 1998? Was their performance only the result of having players the likes of Hall of Famers Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen?

Why does one sales team, selling the same products for the same company, consistently outsell other sales teams?

In this article we explore consistent and distinct attributes that we have observed in high performance teams over the past 5 years.

 

What is Teamwork?

Simply put, teamwork is when a group of people work towards a common goal. Nothing more. Nothing less!

 

What is a High Performance Team?

A high performance team is a group of people work together cohesively to consistently produce superior results.

"High performance teams rarely happen by chance… They are the result of careful planning and great leadership”

 

The 5 Pillars of Team Performance

The 5 Pillars of Team Performance form the foundation of high performance teams, and provides leaders with a framework to develop high performance teams.

The 5 Pillars

 

Leadership Approaches

There are fundamentally 3 leadership approaches a leader can use to make decisions:
 
I Way The leader makes the decisions and communicates what is needed. Although there are times when this approach is needed, it often results in a lack of commitment and ownership.
My Way The leader seeks feedback from the team when making decisions, but ultimately makes the decision. Although this approach can lead to increased commitment and ownership, it can also lead to discontent if the feelings and opinions of team members are ignored.
Our Way The leader facilitates discussions with the team on decisions that need to be made. The team feel that they ultimately made the decision.
Your Way The leader delegates decision making to the team. The team becomes responsible for the decision.


 

Purpose

High performance teams are driven by a shared purpose… It’s the leader’s responsibility to help them find that purpose and focus the team on achieving their goals.

Shared Vision High performance teams are driven by a clear, concise and compelling purpose that they helped to define.
Defined Roles High performance teams have clearly defined roles, responsibilities and areas of accountability.
Results Focus High performance teams are focused on delivering results, and continually strive to outperform.

  

Team Spirit

High performance teams stick together in the face of adversity… It’s the leader’s responsibility to help the team think and act like a team.

Cohesiveness High performance teams stick together and remain united in the pursuit of a common goal, irrespective of the situation.
Trust High performance teams have high levels of trust; the loyalty, ethics and competence of team members are rarely questioned.
Fun High performance teams understand that continual success cannot be achieved if the team is not having fun.

  

Communication

High performance teams communicate openly, without fear of reprisal… It’s the leader’s responsibility to foster ’safe’ communication channels.

Regular Dialogue High performance teams engage in regular dialogue, where everyone gets a chance to contribute.
Feedback Culture High performance teams value feedback, as it is provided on a regular basis with an emphasis on feedforward.
Proactive Conflict Resolution High performance teams view conflict positively, and proactively diffuse tension and friction in a ‘safe’ environment.

  

Leadership

HPT’s have highly competent leaders… It’s the leaders responsibility to engage and involve the team in decision making.

Facilitative Leadership High performance teams have highly competent leaders who facilitate decision-making. They recognise the importance of ownership and committment, and that the ideas need to be that of the team.
Shared Decision-Making High performance teams make decisions as a team in relation to the team’s direction, performance and processes. Although they have the final say, they place high levels of trust in their teams abililty to make the right decision.
Accountability Loops High performance teams have clear lines of accountability and reporting; team members hold one another accountable.

 

Growth

Status quo is one step from failure… It’s the leaders responsibility to ensure that the team and team members are continuing to grow.

Continuous Improvement High performance teams understand that status quo is only one step from failure, and continuously strive to improve.
Individual Development High performance teams have clearly defined plans in place for individual development. These plans are conceived in collaboration.
Learning Culture High performance teams have a learning culture; the team actively acquires and shares knowledge.

 

"At the end of the day, how your team performs is the true measure of your effectiveness as a leader."

There you have it... The attributes of high performance teams. In the coming weeks I will share a really practical and easy to use planning template for The 5 Pillars of Team Performance.