Today's Challenge: Building a High Performance Team

Over the last year, I’ve written more than two dozen posts on teams. As some of you know, I’ve also written a book entitled The Secret of Teams about the lessons we’ve learned over the last two decades here at Chick-fil-A on our team journey. Today, I want to summarize the best practices of building a high performance team, in a top 10 format.

If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll not find anything new here, but hopefully putting each in a summary format will be helpful. The following are not the only things high performance teams do, but they do represent critical ingredients to success.
1. Embrace a Common Purpose – A unifying purpose serves to align, inform and energize a team. It clarifies the vision of the leader and can help the team create its working agenda. Without a clear purpose, teams can easily confuse activity with accomplishment.
2. Pursue Shared Goals – The catalyst for a group of individuals to actually become a team is often found in shared goals. Shared goals channel individual energy towards a common objective(s). Goals create an early warning system so a team can know if they are off track. Goals also create opportunities for teams to celebrate.
3. Establish a Team Scorecard – People love to keep score. The scorecard focuses the team on the critical few metrics that determine their success. It also provides on-going feedback on the team’s performance and the effectiveness of their interventions.
4. Recruit & Select Talent – The best teams realize an on-going recruiting effort is needed to maintain a strong team. The profile is clear for the talent they seek. By selecting talent, the team ensures today’s success and tomorrow’s.
5. Clarify Roles – Role clarity is about who does what as individuals; it’s also about the role of the team vs. the role of the leader. When role clarity increases, so does execution.
6. Build a Cross-functional Team – The strongest teams have diverse talents, skills, personalities, experience and functional expertise represented. Without this cross-functional bias, teams become one-dimensional and are at extreme risk of underperforming.
7. Develop Individual & Team Skills – Both of these types of skills are needed for a team to excel. Individual members must be skilled at their assigned roles. Also, the team must learn the skills needed to be a team - everything from effective meetings to problem-solving must be learned and practiced to make the team work.
8. Have Great Meetings – Meetings are the forum in which teams set goals, plan, solve problems, learn, challenge, create, hold each other accountable, celebrate and monitor performance. Effective meetings are the irreplaceable element in the success of any team.
9. Problem Solve Together – Teams are at their best when the members pool their experience, wisdom, creativity and expertise to solve problems. When harnessed and focused on the issues and obstacles which impede performance, this can be the team’s finest hour.
10. Build Genuine Community – When teams share, learn, serve, celebrate, mourn, love and grow together, they turbo-charge their performance. However, community is a strategic choice – teams don’t drift to deep levels of genuine community. Focused time, energy and vulnerability over time is the price to be paid for true community.
To help you go deeper on this topic, I've created The Secret of Teams Field Guide, a 126-page resource with additional content, exercises and ideas for action. You can download the FREE PDF here. Bound copies will be available in a few weeks.
Enjoy the journey![GLS_Shield]


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