High performance teams are critical to success in today's fast-paced and ever-changing business environment. In order to remain competitive, it is imperative that organization's create a high performance culture. In order to create a
Some common characteristics of a high performance culture include:
- Focus and alignment to higher level company strategy with clearly defined priorities and quantifiable success targets to monitor and measure themselves against.
- Transparency with clear and consistent communication. This includes both positive kudos for jobs well done as constructive criticism to help the team improve and hold themselves accountable.
- Drive routine problem solving sessions that generate action plans in a timely fashion.
The difference between a high performance team and a mediocre team boils down to one key differentiator; Results! High performance teams are made up of "A Players" who consistently achieve more and do it better than their peer groups. These teams are driven by mastery, autonomy, and purpose (Daniel Pink, "Drive").
In order to succeed at becoming a high performance team, constant feedback and review of team and individual plans and action items is necessary. There is one primary "rule" that must be followed to be successful in feedback and review - Rhythm. Rhythm, or Cadence, is a steady and consistent pattern - just as you do with breathing. There is a natural Rhythm to breathing that keeps us alive, growing, and healthy. It is "habit" and if that cadence were interrupted, we would find ourselves struggling for air, possibly to survive. Just as we need this simple, yet fundamental act to sustain ourselves, businesses need a Rhythm to thrive and grow.
The first step in creating a Rhythm that leads to a high performance team is to set yourself up as a high performance team member. In order to do that, you must set aside time each week to have a "Meeting With Yourself." In carving out time for yourself at the end of each week to reflect on the week just completed and plan for the coming week, you are focusing your attention on moving yourself and your team closer to achieving goals and objectives by evaluating progress and planning strategically from week to week. There are several key elements to success in this DIY (Do It Yourself) Meeting Rhythm:
1. Schedule a weekly meeting with yourself for this process
- Make sure that you set aside at least 20 minutes to get this done each and every week
- Put it on the calendar and stick to it. If you don't protect the time that you'll get caught fighting fires instead of using the time to think strategically
- Use this time to slow down to speed up. Make sure that you are spending your time on the most important strategic objectives based on the latest information.
2. Evaluate your progress for the week you are ending.
- Did you succeed in your plans for the week or were you faced with challenges that prevented you from accomplishing your weekly goals?
- If you have achieved all that you set out to do, what are the steps and action items required to continue progressing in the coming week?
- If not, what barriers to success did you encounter? How could you have managed your planned agenda differently? What will you do in the coming week to get back on track?
3. Plan your coming week based on what you have (or have not) accomplished in the week you are ending.
- First, write up your victories from the ending week. Victories are not limited to what one would normally view as success (i.e. completed a project or won a new sales contract). Victories can also be breaking through barriers to success, overcoming bottlenecks that threaten success, improving communication or collaboration among departments.
- Next, document your priorities for the coming week (based on your reflection and status).
- Next, document your "stucks". Stucks are those things which are or may prevent success that you need team input and discussion around.
- Last, determine what the week will look like if successful (i.e. if I have this meeting with Client A or Vendor X, I will have a successful week).
4. Bring this information to a pre-scheduled weekly meeting to discuss and review with your team. Be prepared to help your team with their weekly priorities, action items and stucks as each member reports out.
Executing these habits in a regular Rhythm over time will transform your team from a mediocre team to a High Performance Team. Keep your high performing team accountable with the 5 C's of Leadership Accountability framework.
Want more information on a high performance culture? Check out these additional resources:
The Power of Systems and People: Accountable Leaders and Teams leadership development program to improve team performance.
Take Our Team Accountability Assessment to see how your team stacks up.
Learn more about accountable leaders and teams.