(This is the fifth in a series of five articles about building high-performance teams.)

High-performing teams create strong, positive results. You’re probably thinking, “No kidding!” When you consider the development of a team built on the fundamental behaviors of a cohesive team — vulnerability-based trust, healthy conflict, commitment, and accountability — “results” seem like a natural and obvious outcome. However, the pinnacle of team performance is a steep and slippery slope. Two things are critical to assure that great teams achieve great results.

Collective versus individual results

High-performing teams are focused on collective team results, not individual results. Team outcomes should not be driven by departmental needs and budgets, or by individual ego or personal career moves. All decisions — all “wins” — should be in the best interest of the team.

The old cliche, “There is no ‘I’ in TEAM,” is absolutely correct. The team needs to work diligently to make sure that everyone is doing their best to help the team accomplish its goals. 

Teams never operate in a vacuum

Every team functions in the context of an organizational framework and culture. Do you have an organizational culture that supports team-based behavior and results?

“This is where many outstanding teams fall down,” said Maren Parry, president of Arden Coaching. “Most work structures and reward systems are not designed to recognize and reward collective team accomplishments: they are set up to reward individuals.” 

Imagine a team where it is decided that $250,000 should be moved from the marketing budget and reallocated to product development. “The decision may be perfectly aligned with the team’s goals and be the very best decision for the comapny,” notes Perry. “However, if the team member from marketing is going to have their head handed to them by their supervisor for ‘losing’ $250,000, then collective results simply cannot be achieved.”

If an organization incentivizes individual performance only, they will never see the results they hope for. For more about making choices and getting results, read Arden Coaching’s “How to Get the Results You Want!”

Components of high-performance teams build upon each other

Ultimately the essential elements of team performance are built-up level by level. Each core behavior depends on the the other.

The most effective way to drive collective results on a team is for team members to hold each other fully accountable. Team accountability can only happen when every member is completely committed to team decisions. Commitment will not occur unless every team member engages in healthy conflict. And healthy conflict can only exist in an environment of vulnerability-based trust. That is how high-performing, cohesive teams come together. 

Arden Coaching is an authorized partner of The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team™ program. Based on Patrick Lencioni’s Five Behaviors model, The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team™ program is a proven set of assessment and team-building tools that has become the most widely used process for effective team development globally.

To learn more about developing your team’s performance, executive coaching, and leadership training contact us at admin@ardencoaching.com or 646.844.2233.