• Read What’s the Secret to Building a High Performing Team?


    What’s the Secret to Building a High Performing Team?

    This is a question that often gets batted around during leadership training sessions.  And to answer it, I often share the results of a Google study called Project Aristotle, which was completed a few years back.  It’s often surprising learning for a lot of leaders, because the key finding was that what matters the most for team effectiveness is less about who is on the team, and more about how the team works together.  Or in other words, when it comes to high performing teams, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. This isn’t to say that technical competency isn’t important.  Obviously, people have to have the right level of skill and competency to be able to do the job they’re in.  But having the brightest and best technical experts doesn’t necessarily equate to success.  We see this often in sports – the teams that are typically the most successful in making it to the championship are the ones the work the most effectively together, not just the ones that have the biggest and brightest stars. So the bottom line is that cherry picking a group of A players won’t necessarily translate into success. So all this begs the question – If it’s not so much about who is on the team, how do you build a high performing team?  Here’s what the Project Aristotle analysis found, and it boils down to 4 key components: Psychological safety The belief in a team that it is safe to speak up, share opinions and make mistakes.  Is your team environment one where only a few voices dominate, where ideas get dismissed, ridiculed, or shot down?  Are mistakes penalized with blaming or shaming language?  Or maybe there’s an unspoken power dynamic, where folks are jockeying for position.  All of these are signs that your team lacks psychological safety, and as the leader, you set the tone for what is and isn’t acceptable behavior. Accountability To what extent are roles and responsibilities clear in your department?   Are they documented and current?  When you delegate a task, how clear are you on the outcome to be achieved and on what your expectations for success are?  As a coach, I hear all the time about situations where a coaching client delegated a task, only to end up with a pile of crap on their desk a week later.  It’s not enough just to tell someone to do something – a good accountability conversation is one where the manager is clear about expectations and confirms that understanding in the conversation.  Are you having regular performance conversations where you give feedback on what’s working and what could be better, or are you avoiding tackling poor performance? Meaning and purpose This isn’t a nice to have or an airy-fairy thing.  The bottom line is that human beings are ultimately motivated by something greater than just a paycheck.  And this is critical in the context of high performing teams, because in these types of teams folks routinely […]

    May 16, 2024


    4.5 min read

  • Read How to create psychological safety in your team (and why it matters)


    How to create psychological safety in your team (and why it matters)

    What is psychological safety? The topic of Psychological safety has been getting a lot of airtime recently.  One definition of this term is the belief that you won’t be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes.  And as a leader, you’re responsible for cultivating it and fostering a healthy level of it in your team.  It’s not about just being nice There’s one frame that often gets in the way on this front.  Quite often, when leaders think about psychological safety, they assume it’s just about being nice to your team members, and they worry about sacrificing high performance for the sake of tiptoeing around each other and not having the hard conversations that need to be had.  But the point is you don’t have to trade high performance in your organization for psychological safety.  You can actually have both. I often find it helpful to start this discussion by looking at 4 different situations that often arise in team environments: So which of these 4 zones is your team currently operating in?  Be honest!  Over my time in business I’ve worked in a version of every one of these zones.  But you don’t get to the Learning and High Performance zone by accident.  As a leader, you’ve got to work to create it.  So what can you do as a leader to increase psychological safety and performance? Consider some of these options, adapted from the work of Amy Edmonson, Harvard psychological safety guru: Coaching questions for thought: Shelley Pernot is a leadership and career coach who is passionate about helping her clients discover their strengths and talents and find a career that utilizes them.  Reach out to me here for a free consultation to learn more about the coaching process and how it may benefit you! I’ve recently been featured in Feedspot’s top 50 career coaching blogs.  Check out what other career coaching experts have to say here! 

    January 20, 2023


    4.7 min read