In today’s business environment, creating high performing teams is a critical component of building successful organizations and maintaining a competitive edge in a rapidly changing marketplace.
In order to create an environment for high performing teams, many organizations manage their organization horizontally, as opposed to the traditional vertical format.
The horizontal format is much more effective because it enables organizations to assemble teams that include members from various departments (cross-functional teams). This prevents the “silo” mentality and places the team’s focus on the end result – serving your customers and achieving your organizational goals.
This leads directly to growth of your bottom line.
By creating cross-functional teams, your organization is able to better assess all aspects of your critical processes. Managing horizontally leads to less re-work or waste, less scrap, shorter lead times, improvement in quality, improvement in cost, and innovation.
According to Suzanne Willis Zoglio, Ph.D. author of 7 Keys to Building Great Workteams, there are seven elements that high performing teams have in common:
Commitment – Commitment means being committed to the vision of the organization. All team members are focused on the same goal and moving in the same direction. Every decision is based upon the impact to the overall organizational goals.
Contribution – Contribution is when all team members participate and take responsibility for accomplishing goals.
Communication – Communication is more than just talking. It’s having open and honest communication between two or more people. All team members are able to provide feedback, accept constructive criticism, and address any issue directly.
Cooperation – Cooperation is when all team members do what they say they are going to do (follow through), it’s done right the first time (accuracy), outside of the box thinking is encouraged (creative), deadlines are met (timeliness), and all are supportive of each other (spirit).
Conflict management – Conflict management is being able to address conflict effectively. Team members will have differing opinions and ideas, and that’s a good thing.
Every individual has some form of competitiveness deep within – how much depends upon the individual. In fact, competitiveness can actually be healthy for the team if all members are striving to do their best in order to accomplish the goal.
Change management – Change management means allowing the team to be innovative. High performing teams need to be flexible and adjust to change. In fact, team members need to initiate change, despite the fact that change is often scary.
Organizations with high performing teams have leaders who are open to change and willing to take some risks, and they demonstrate and encourage this behavior in their teams.
Connection – Connection means being connected to the organization, other teams, as well as other team members. When connection occurs, a new culture is created where team members step in and help each other and all are working toward the organization’s goals.
Better teams bring better results. When did you last look at how you manage teams and for opportunities to improve your organization’s performance?