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High-Performance Teams
John Oh
Tuesday, March 08, 2016

When I think about the greatest basketball player of all time, I immediately think about Michael Jordan. This may sound a little biased coming from a Chicago native, but I’m not here to debate the best basketball player of all time. Rather, I want to discuss the characteristics of a high-performance team. Speaking of M.J., let me start by sharing a short clip of Michael talking about the best teams he has played on.

Using this as a parallel, whether it is in sports or within a company, I find that similar practices make up the best teams.

Assembling the dream team

It starts with sharing a common goal, having a solid communication strategy and each member clearly understanding their roles and doing their jobs well.

By definition, a team is a unit of two or more people who share a mission and the responsibility for working towards achieving their goals. Or a small number of people with complementary skills who commit to a common purpose, set of performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable. Teams also define leadership roles, measure performance directly by assessing collective work products, and produce results together.

What factors make a team perform well?

According to Katzenbach and Smith, there are eight factors to build team performance which in turn will result in high-performing teams. In summary the eight performance factors are the following:

  1. The team must understand it purpose, goals and believe it can achieve its goals.
  2. The team must be skilled and have the potential to learn new skills.
  3. The team members and leaders must establish a positive first impression.
  4. The team must clearly set, understand and follow its developed rules of conduct. 
  5. The team must set immediate performance oriented tasks and goals so that it can meet its task and goals faster.
  6. The team must continuously be challenged.
  7. The members of the team must spend time together to know and understand each other better.
  8. Positive feedback, recognition and reward must be present.

Potential vs. performance

Team and performance is combined to build a high-performing team, but beware that a team with performance characteristics may not really be a high-performing team. These can be those teams with high potential, but ones that never live up to their capabilities. Teams with performance characteristics must actually perform to meet their expectations, goals, and mission consistently in order to be considered a high-performing team. As we look back at Ensono’s first month, we continue to grow our partnerships, relationships, and our high-performance teams. 

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