How to improve team performance
The future of your organisation depends upon the performance of the team.
- If the team performance is good, then your future will go well.
- If your team performance is no-good, then your future will be hell.
Your organisation is made up of individuals. Those individuals come together to form teams. The performance of the team is dependent on the quality and quantity of:
- The performance of each individual worker.
- The integrated performance of the team, when taken as a whole.
In order to get the optimum performance, you need systems and training that will illicit the best individual performance, from each member of the team, and the best group performance from the team, as an integrated whole.
Question: How could you find training that will give you both sets: both optimum individual performance, and optimum team performance?
Answer: You could attend a two day training course specifically designed to hit that mark.
Question: What material would such a training course need to cover, in order to hit that mark?
Answer: The training course would set out the "success attributes and skills" that must be present, in any team, or in any individual, if that team, or individual expects to achieve its goals. The training would name the specific success attributes, define them, show why they are essential skills, and then teach the skills, allow the teams to practice those skills, during the course, so that, before the end of the course, each member knows exactly what is required of them.
To be more specific:
The 7 habits and attributes of a successful team or individual are as follows:
- The ability to commit 100% to a long range, challenging but worthwhile goal.
- The ability to communicate well, both in the spoken and the written form.
- The ability to formulate practical plans of action that are likely to achieve the goal.
- The willingness to work hard (and long) in order to implement the plans.
- The willingness to both give and to receive "feedback" in respect of their work: feedback consisting of two main types; positive feedback and negative feedback.
- The ability to absorb honest "Negative Feedback", and use that negative feedback to inform and guide the necessary improvements and changes to the current plans, current actions, and current habit patterns.
- To maintain a spirit of harmony and cooperation with other members of the team, in spite of the inevitable disagreements over the previous 6 elements: i.e. there will be disagreements over what should be the goal. There will be inevitable miscommunications and misunderstandings based upon poor communications in both the written and the spoken form. There will be disagreements over the design of the plans. There will be disagreements over the implementation of the plans. There will be inevitable disagreements over the negative feedback, because people don't like their work to be criticised, even if that criticism is justified, accurate and well intentioned. There will be disagreements over the need to make changes; because people don't like making changes, even when the need for change is self-evident, and the refusal to change will lead to painful consequences, still people won't change!
These are the 7 key stones to improved personal and team performance.
Here they are again as a brief list.
- Goal focus.
- Clear communication.
- Rational planning.
- Positive action.
- Sensitivity to feedback.
- Willingness to change in the light of negative feedback.
- Ability to maintain harmonious relationships and a cooperative spirit.
If you know what the success formula elements are, then you can test yourself and you can test your team against them, to see how you measure up.
As a thought experiment try answering these questions. Decide in advance, to whom you are applying the questions: Are you applying the questions:
- To yourself. Or
- To one other person, (if so, who specifically). Or
- To "the team" taken as a whole.
1. To what degree are you a Goal focused individual?
Are you committed to a long range valuable goal? Or do you tend to drift, and just go with the flow?
2. Clear communication
To what degree are you an accurate communicator? Do people always understand you, or do you have trouble expressing yourself in language.
3. Rational planning
To what degree are you a great planner? Do you plan ahead and have detailed written plans of action, or do you tend to improvise and make it up as you go?
4. Positive action
To what degree are you a hard worker? Or do you tend to put things off. Do you ever say, "I could do it now, I should do it now, but I'm not in the mood right now, so I will do it later".
5. Sensitivity to feedback
To what degree, are you fully and consciously aware, of the issue of feedback? Do you actively seek criticism, hoping to find out where you might improve your performance? Do you ask people to tell you where they think your performance is weak, in the hope that you might gain some insight into how you may "up your game". Or does the thought of asking for critical feedback seem odd and alien to you.
Does it seem more natural to you to avoid all situations where you might suffer criticism?
6. Willingness to change in the light of negative feedback
If you ever hear honest and accurate criticism of yourself or of your performance, how do you react?
Do you take the criticism under consideration and revise your language, revise your performance or habits, accordingly? Or do you get upset, angry, aggressive and stubborn?
7. Ability to maintain harmonious relationships and a cooperative spirit
To what degree could you be honestly described as "harmonious and co-operative"? Are you easy to do business with? Or are you combative, abrasive and sometimes difficult to deal with.
Are people glad to have you on the team, or does your presence mean that they have another difficult person to deal with?
From the above questions we can derive a failure formula.
Your team will fail, to the degree, to which it shows signs of the opposites of the success formula. The opposite of the success formula, is the failure formula.
Your team will fail to the degree to which it shows signs of the following 7 negative habits.
- A distinct lack of commitment to "the goal". They couldn't care less about the goal. Does anyone in the team say things like, "Just so long as they pay me at the end of the week, then I couldn't care less"?
- Any signs of Carelessness and laxity in the use of language. Aggressive, unreasonable, insulting language or, ambiguous, unclear or overgeneralised language.
- Being in a state of unpreparedness. Ill prepared. Unplanned. Not ready.
- Laziness. Unwillingness to exert the necessary effort. Complaining of "being tired all the time".
- Deaf and blind to criticism. Taking all criticism as if it was a personal insult. Refusal to ever admit a mistake or weakness.
- Refusal to change. Refusal to adapt, to evolve and to continually improve. A desire, instead, to stay the same, and keep things permanently as they are now, or even a wish to "go back to the good old days".
- A habit of uncooperativeness, and disharmony. A habit and speech pattern that fosters feelings of disruption, aggressiveness and hostility within the group.
For your information, here is the failure formula as a list:
- Lack of commitment. Drifting.
- Laxity in language.
- No plan. Making it up as you go along.
- Procrastination or laziness.
- Blindness or insensitivity to what is not working.
- Refusal to change, adapt and grow.
- Uncooperativeness and disharmonious spirit.
If your team shows any, (or all), of the 8 elements of the failure formula, then please, follow this link, for more information about our two day, personal effectiveness course.