Thursday, 25 March 2021

WHAT MAKES A HIGH PERFORMING TEAM?


WHAT IS A TEAM?

Is it your peer-group of equals? Is it the people for whom your are the leader, manager, boss? Is it the community, club, clique, company, or profession to which you belong or identify?  This may be a simple answer, or you may find you have several relationships with different teams with similar or dissimilar aims, objectives and expectations. Example: You might be a member of the Accounts Team, the Leadership Team, the Change Team and feel pulled in different directions as a result.

I think that Seth Godin's book Tribe sets a neat way to encapsulate the key elements of a team, as a tribe.

A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea.
A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.
Tribes need leadership. Sometimes one person leads, sometimes more. People want connection and growth and something new. They want change.

It should be possible to create a tribe that has its own....

1. Stories and Myths
2. Rituals and Routines
3. Symbols
4. Control Systems
5. Organisation Structures
6. Power Structures

Be aware however that what unites a team (goal, values, location, education, profession culture) also divides or separate it from others. So whatever we do to unite against a foe, enemy, rival may create an unhealthy simplification, conflict and personalisation against the other team(s) even within the same organisation.  For example Microsoft versus Apple may be seen as healthy team rivalry but Sales and Marketing Team versus Compliance Team may not!

PICK THE RIGHT PEOPLE AND CULTIVATE DIVERSITY

Having 5 Accountants and nobody from IT, HR, Sales and Marketing, Operations, Compliance is bound to compromise the strength of the group. When two people always agree, one of them isn't necessary. So the strongest teams have diversity and some challenge, they can debate and reach consensus and play to each-others' strengths. This is the value of Belbin Team Types and a good mix of DISC or MBTI personality types.

Belbin Team Types

The Monitor Evaluator (thought-oriented)
The Specialist (thought-oriented)
The Plant (thought-oriented)
The Shaper (action-oriented)
The Implementer (action-oriented)
The Completer/Finisher (action-oriented)
The Coordinator (people-oriented)
The Team Worker (people-oriented)
The Resource Investigator (people-oriented)

MAKE THE TEAM THE RIGHT SIZE AND KEEP THEM CLOSE

We know from the Dunbar Number that small teams work well, and beyond a certain size teams will fragment into sub-teams. We also know that 5 people in a team have 10 relationships (each with each-other in various combinations) but 7 people in a team have 21 relationships. So it is clear smaller teams are better for communication, cohesion and collaboration. Add to this the Allen Curve that predicts that proximity is the key (you get on with people closest to you, and whom you see the most) and it is clear that team size and location (or connectedness) is critical

CREATE THE ENVIRONMENT WHERE SUCCESS IS INEVITABLE

I have long been a fan of the saying, "We create the environment where success is inevitable" which apparently was written on poolside where Adrian Moorhouse was training as an Olympic Swimmer, and which we has carried into his consulting business Lane4.

This motivated me when I was Athlete Representative for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. I started thinking about how do I create an environment where athletes can excel. I based my ideas around Robert Dilts model "I can do that here"

I – Is about me, myself, my core belief, my talent. (Individual)
Can – Is about capability, competence, and capacity. (Belief)
Do – Is about action, permission, freedom, responsibility. (Capability)
That – Is about values, culture and behaviour. (Behaviour)
Here – Is about place, environment and timing. (Environment)

My approach being that by setting up the right Environment (space, kit, sights, sounds, access, privacy) and modelling the right Behaviour (habits, routines, mottos, greetings, language) we can set-up the right conditions for people to focus on Capability (practice, drills, functions, supported by data, video, feedback) and Belief (coaching, mentoring, psychology). And all this will inform, support, nurture and liberate that person to be the very best they can.

CHECK PEOPLE HAVE EVERYTHING THEY NEED TO PERFORM

6 Questions to determine successful leadership: your job is to make sure that the answer to each of these questions is YES

I know what is expected of me at work
I have the materials and equipment I need to do my job right
I have the opportunity to do what I do best every-day
In the last 7 days I have received recognition or praise for doing good work
Someone at work encourages my development
At work, my opinions count

HELP PEOPLE BE AND STAY IN THE ZONE

In positive psychology, a flow state, also known colloquially as being in the zone, is the mental state in which a person performing some activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by the complete absorption in what one does, and a resulting transformation in one's sense of time. Schaffer (2013) proposed seven flow conditions:

Knowing what to do
Knowing how to do it
Knowing how well you are doing
Knowing where to go (if navigation is involved)
High perceived challenges
High perceived skills
Freedom from distractions


SO WHAT GOES WRONG? WHAT UNDERMINES A HIGH PERFORMING TEAM?

Absence of Trust: When team members are unable to show their weakness, resulting in being reluctant to be vulnerable and being open with one another. Team members will be afraid of admitting their mistakes and will be unwilling to ask for help.

Fear of Conflict: Lack of trust results in fear of conflict which in turn results in team members incapable of engaging in debates or openly voicing their opinions. The team completely avoids conflicts which results in inferior results.

Lack of Commitment: Fear of conflict results in lack of commitment. As team members have not bought into the decisions, they don’t feel committed to the same which resulting in an environment where ambiguity prevails.

Avoidance of Accountability: Lack of commitment results in team members not making each other accountable. If one has not bought into the decision, they won’t make their peers too accountable.

Inattention to Results: If the team members don’t feel accountable, they put their own needs [ego, recognition, career development etc.] ahead of the team goals. This results in team loosing sight and the company suffers.


IF THERE IS ONE MAGIC INGREDIENT - WHAT IS IT?

Google Spent Years Studying Effective Teams. What matters isn't so much who's on your team, but rather how the team works together. So what was the most important factor contributing to a team's effectiveness? It was psychological safety - TRUST

Google describes it this way: In a team with high psychological safety, teammates feel safe to take risks around their team members. They feel confident that no one on the team will embarrass or punish anyone else for admitting a mistake, asking a question, or offering a new idea.

Key Elements

1.    Listen first.
2.    Show empathy.
3.    Be authentic.
4.    Set the example.
5.    Be helpful.
6.    Disagree and commit.
7.    Be humble.
8.    Be transparent.
9.    Commend sincerely and specifically.

HOW BEST CAN YOU INTRODUCE TRUST

You can introduce psychological safety through Coaching and Mentoring. Creating a safe environment for people to think and feel. For people to express ideas and share thoughts. Coaching is a process that aims to improve performance and focuses on the 'here and now' rather than on the distant past or future. Good coaches believe that the individual always has ideas and opportunities to resolve whatever is holding them back but understands that they may need help to define their goals, set their path, and achieve their success. Coaching is about listening, reflecting, asking questions and unlocking people and teams potential.


Tim HJ Rogers MBA CITP
PROJECTS, PROGRAMMES and CHANGE /  CONSULTANT MENTOR COACH

Adapt Consulting Company
Consult CoCreate Deliver
Mob +447797762051 Tim@AdaptConsultingCompany.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/timhjrogers/
https://www.adaptconsultingcompany.com/


References

Flow
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)

Leadership Series - How To Create The Perfect Team And Circumstances For Project Success
https://adaptconsultingcompany.blogspot.com/2020/01/leadership-series-how-to-create-perfect.html

 Building Team Jersey – thoughts for Commonwealth Games 2014
https://projectspeoplechange.blogspot.com/2014/01/building-team-jersey-thoughts-for.html

Belbin Team Types
https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/belbin-team-roles

 DISC or MBTI personality types
 https://blog.discinsights.com/disc-profile-compared-to-the-myers-briggs-test
 
Allen Curve
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allen_curve

Group-size and Relationships
https://slideplayer.com/slide/7286963/24/images/15/Group+Size+and+Relationships.jpg

Dunbar Number
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar%27s_number

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