Team Performance: the best teams have a consistent theme

I have been reflecting recently on being part of a successful team. Having participated in a number of sports some at a national and European level has given me the opportunity to work with some leading sports coaches. Their role was pivotal in the success of the teams – defining and then supporting the team to deliver high standards of performance in competitive and pressurised situations. I also worked in a number of high-growth companies during my career where the standards and pressure were equally high and challenging.

So being a successful team, what does it take? There are a number of factors:

  1. A consistent well-communicated theme – a common mission or goal that united the team. This is discussed and agreed with the team at the outset so it’s crystal clear what people are ‘signing up’ to. This theme is central to everything that the team does, guiding and supporting them through the year (or the season). It sets the foundations for another key ingredient for a high performing team – trust.
  2. Setting it up well from the start – It’s so important to do this well. With all teams, in organisations as well as in sport, there will come a time when you need a team member to do something they don’t like doing or enjoy, for example, switch roles or projects, but it’s important to the team achieving their goal. Having clarity at the start makes this a lot easier!
  3.  Structure – everyone understands their roles, the skills and behaviours required to perform successfully, how they will learn and that there is a safe environment in which to discuss performance (both good and bad!). This structure supports clear communication and transparent feedback essential to drive high performance.

With a common goal, a good start and clear structures in place, the team can start to perform, develop and in some cases innovate and express themselves because they’ve been empowered to do so. The team manager can coach, mentor and support the team without getting in the way. So get ready for 2017 and set yourself and your team up for high performance from the first week of the New Year!

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