Build a high-performance team (video transcript)

So, you’re on a team that’s not working. Maybe it’s because you don’t have shared priorities and everybody’s running off in other directions, or maybe it’s because the communication is terrible and no one trusts each other anymore.

By this point, you’ve probably tried some kind of team building activity. Maybe you’ve zip lined your way to high performance.

That probably didn’t last.

And maybe you’ve read about all the dysfunctions of a team, and everyone is sitting waiting for another person to make the first move. Unfortunately, making a team healthy is not quite that easy. It takes four steps.

Step #1: Get aligned

First, you have to get aligned. We always start with the business of the team because you can’t begin to fix the dynamic and the trust until you all agree on what you’re there to do. So, you’ve got to figure out what is your organization counting on you for? What’s the unique value that your team brings?

From there, you can describe the mandate of the team and figure out how you’re going to need to behave differently to make that happen.

Step #2: Understand the people

In step two, you’ve got to start to understand the people on the team. So, grab yourself a style tool. I love the Birkman, but lots of them will work. What you want to do is have every team member start to understand themselves a little better, but also to understand one another.

You’ve got to understand is whether that conflict you’re having is coming from the fact that you’re so different, or from the fact that you’re too much alike?

Then in the third point what you want to look at is ‘how does the style of your team and of all the members on the team line up with what your team is there to do’? If your mandate is to actually go out and influence everybody around the team, then if you have nobody with a natural influencing style, you’re going to be in trouble. Probably going to have to hardwire some of those things.

Step #3: Fix what’s not working

In the third step, that’s when you can really roll up your sleeves. This is where we help teams fix the things that aren’t working. Whether this is communication, meeting agendas, decision making, trust, whatever it is, this is the stage at which once you understand what you’re there to do, and you understand the folks around the table, this is when you can make things better.

And most people think that’s where we would stop.

Step #4: Sustain your high performance

But the fourth step is actually the most important. This is where we make sure that your team can continue as a high performance team when we’re nowhere to be found.

At this point, we’re making sure you know how to keep the agendas really tight and on track, and that you don’t let operational stuff creep back in. We’re also making sure you’re comfortable enforcing the ground rules and calling one another when you don’t behave appropriately.

Once we’re sure of that, then we know you can sustain high performance without us there.

Unfortunately, team building and creating a healthy team is not as easy as one day on a zip line, but it can be done. Four steps to creating a vital team.

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