Improving Your Team’s Performance

By Marc Smith Sacks, MA, PCC

Last week I talked about the Ten Behaviors of Great Teams.  How did your team do on those top ten factors?

Arden Executive Coaching | Improving Your Team’s Performance

This week we’ll give you some tips for improving your own team’s ranking on those top ten behaviors.

Each team has its own unique strengths, and opportunities for improvement. The best teams work at being the best. They dedicate explicit time, energy, and attention to iterative and continuous improvement of team performance. The best strategies for improvement are sourced from the team members themselves and can be discovered in brainstorming and focused team building conversations. Here are eight team building ideas to get the conversation rolling:

Clarify what “great” looks like. Draw up your own list of behaviors. Declare what the team behaviors are and why you are committed to them.  Then “be the changes” as Gandhi would say: explicitly and consistently role model, and hold each other accountable for the behaviors you want to see.

  • Gain commitment for new behaviors – You will know your commitment both by what you declare, by the actions you see team members taking, and by their results. Behavior change requires courage, compassion, and discipline over a span of time. The best teams explicitly celebrate small and large wins and treat mistakes as learning opportunities that are backed by solutions and committed action.
  • Provide a compelling context for behavior changes – a) Declare an “impossible future” that will serve as a lightning rod for behavior change, and b) Provide a visual or graphic display that links individual and team performance to business impact and plants the relevant story for behavior changes deep into their sub-conscious.
  • Provide daily visual feedback – Create a visual dashboard, providing immediate feedback for individual and team performance. Explicitly discuss team performance – including successes, failures, and lessons learned – on a recurrent basis.
  •  Remove barriers to members facing each other. Create work spaces where people naturally face each other. This facilitates greater engagement and participation. Here are some examples of companies who have started implementing these changes: Re-design work-spaces.
  •  Increase opportunities for socializing.  The more team members interact with each other socially outside a work structure, the better.  This one factor can account for more than 50% of positive changes in communication patterns on teams.
  •  Encourage even participation amongst the team. Seek out people who may dominate conversations and those who may not be contributing, and coach them to improve their balance of advocacy, inquiry, and listening.
  •  Rotate team members to bring in fresh blood. This practice builds collaboration, cross functional engagement, and adds bench strength to handle rapidly shifting priorities and commitments for the team.

The payoff of growing great teams can be a game-changer for you and your company. The process is a combination of both an art and a science. For help from an expert, contact usfor a Team Assessment and Coaching Plan.