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  • Writer's pictureTaural Rhoden

Team Performance Enablers

In a previous post, I discussed the challenge in taking good ideas, theory and concepts and putting them into practice. What is clear is that, a) that there is already some profound and deep thinking around teams and performance, and b) that it can be challenging to know what concrete steps to take out of the learnings to address specific team performance issues. 

While the genesis of team performance problems can certainly be found in, for example the lack of psychological safety (as highlighted in Google's Project Aristotle) or unclear structures, they often manifest themselves in more specific symptoms, like these: 

  • Not all team members are equally active.

  • There is a lack of commitment and engagement in the team. 

  • Team suffers from relationship issues between individuals within the team

  • Infrequent productive communication.

  • Team members do not fully trust each other.

  • Team members may interrupt or talk over one another.

  • There may be consistent silence from some members.

  • Difficulty making decisions. 

  • Team members aren’t sharing information. 

  • The team is unable, unwilling or incapable of successfully onboarding new team members.

  • Team does not know how to manage conflict.

  • Members don’t feel mutually accountable to one another for the team’s objectives.

  • Multiple people taking up the same responsibility or leaving out some vital tasks.

The real trick that separates a well-informed and well-meaning team leader or manager whose team is not performing from a successful team leader is in knowing what steps to actually take in order to drive better performance. 

To that end, there are four team performance enablers, a useful collection of practices, tactics and techniques, that we know will drive better team performance:

  • Rituals & Ceremonies: these are regularly repeated practices that foster clarity, commitment, communication and cohesion in your team. 

  • Information Radiators: which provide transparency on progress, show commitment, and keep teams laser-focused on goals and purpose.

  • Problem Solving Practices: exercises that your teams will use to approach solving particular kinds of problems and resolving together, a skill that good teams need to learn how to do. 

  • Approach to work: leaning heavily on the ideas in the agile manifesto this describes the philosophy of work that will help keep your team successful (even if you’re not agile).

These enablers draw heavily on learnings from some of the most successful companies in the world. These companies invest heavily in fostering the formation of excellent teams and enabling greater performance out of them. They constantly refine their ways of working and over the years certain techniques and practices stand out as being core performance enablers. and are the result of evidence based, iterative work over many years.

In future posts, I'll be getting into each of these enablers.

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