• 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