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High Performing Teams – The essence in 60 seconds

Forming or re-forming teams is an essential part of re-organization and restructuring. Teams are a bit like a music group – the economist Kjell Nordstrom likes to describe the Rolling Stones as the perfect team: each member knows what the other is about to do almost before they do it, instinctively, and they collaborate towards a common end (the song, the performance).

That’s fine if your team has been together for 40 years and is at the top of its industry. But, in today’s workplaces, teams form and re-form frequently. So, you need to get your team up to peak performance as fast as possible and keep it there. Here are some quick tips to help, from Katzenbach and Smith’s book The Wisdom of Teams:

What is a team? “A small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, set of performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.”

What are the four elements that make a team effective?

1. Common commitment and purpose
2. Performance goals
3. Complementary skills, and
4. Mutual accountability

At the heart of effective teams are shared values. “Teamwork represents a set of values that encourage listening and responding constructively to views expressed by others, giving others the benefit of the doubt, providing support, and recognizing the interests and achievements of others.

“Such values help teams perform, and they also promote individual performance as well as the performance of an entire organization.”

Adapted From: The Wisdom of Teams, by Katzenbach and Smith. More thoughts from them on how to build high performing teams in this short briefing on the Harvard site (about three to five minute read and thinking time needed) click here: The Discipline of Teams

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