A team is a team, right?
How do you build and sustain high performing teams as part of a strategy for success?
Think of any business or brand you’ve ever had cause to admire, and chances are, it will be one where the concept of team is very much acknowledged and prioritised.
While yes, this is undoubtedly the ‘age of the entrepreneur’, it doesn’t take too much scratching beneath the surface to identify that even the very best founders and leaders – think Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, and Oprah Winfrey, just for starters – are surrounded by a collective equally committed to the same cause.
History tells us that wherever high performing teams have been in place – be that to run a white-collar business, represent a political persuasion, scoop multiple Olympic team medals or produce box-office hits – success is inescapably more likely.
But how does one go about building a high performing team?
Should that be consciously in the mind of a business owner at every stage of recruitment in a company’s life cycle?
Or does it matter less, so long as the ‘individual’ is competent and committed to their own singular role in an organisation?
Carole Burman, MAD-HR’s founder and Managing Director, has helped countless firms develop high performing teams.
She believes that a company’s drive for a high performing team, reaps enormous benefits for that business, and for the individual.
“There’s no doubt, that if you really want a high performing business, you’ve got to play close attention to finding, upskilling and evolving a high performing team,” she says.
“Teams created with this in mind will inevitably be better motivated, better at delivering the kind of customer service a leader can be proud of, and more engaged in the pursuit of innovation and success.”
Of course, high-performance teams don’t just ‘happen’.
They do require vision, strategic planning, and inevitably, some intense self-reflection for the entrepreneur who is looking to emerge with a trusted and talented team.
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Here are some of the main building blocks in embarking on the journey to creating a high performing team:
KNOW YOUR ‘WHY’?
Why does any entrepreneur choose a particular direction in their business?
Why does a leader opt for growth and human resource investment, other than a mere distribution of tasks and a desire to be seen to be bigger in scale?
Every business leader setting out to develop a high performing team should really start by asking why they are motivated to do so.
In the process, this will unearth some personal and professional motivations, but will also identify what success looks like.
Talking of success, there’s little point in developing high performing teams without projecting the probable and possible measure of success.
What will the business look like if I have this longed-for team in place?
How will I benchmark success, and when will I conclude that my high performing team is exceeding, meeting or falling somewhat short of expectations and aspirations?
SIZE MATTERS (a bit)
There’s no perfect number for one high-performance team to another – particularly as businesses and their outputs and service offerings vary so hugely.
That said, there’s inevitably always going to be a more ‘optimum’ size for your crafted team.
Consider carefully what will be the right size for this group of collaborators.
In so doing, explore what skillsets and personalities will be covered off, and whether you’ll remain exposed in certain areas.
It’s also very much possible to add to your own internal ‘HPT’ with some additional external specialists, so be careful not to try to squeeze existing square pegs into round holes if it really isn’t going to help build the perfect structure.
A LOVE OF LEARNING
One marker of all great teams and their leaders, is a consistent desire to keep learning, advancing, remaining curious, and developing skills where they might be lacking.
As you implement the idea of a high performing team, stay mindful of a need for a strategy of ‘lifelong learning’ for all involved in the collective.
Ultimately, you want your team to have a thirst for knowledge – not only in the specific interests of your business, but as a representative feature of their approach to life and work in general. This will certainly help you when you want to effect change – your team will be more open to it as they will see it as part of continuous improvement.
CULTURE AND COMMUNICATION
Enter into your HPT pursuit with a very clear view as to how you want the culture of your team and its communication model to look.
Developing these factors is best explored early on – not overhauled some way down the line when you realise that your team members are not aligning or that different individuals have competing perceptions about what the business stands for and their roles within it.
And don’t forget to count your own communication style as a key element here.
How you choose to articulate and interact will determine a great deal of your outcomes longer term, so never underestimate.
TOASTING THE TRIUMPHS (OR NOT)
We couldn’t not mention the significance of reward and collective celebration.
When you build a high performing team, you’re likely doing so because you are motivated by the idea of tackling some major challenges, achieving some significant goals, and expecting your ‘collective’ to put in the hard graft along the way.
That being the case, it’s worth giving due attention to your intentions for both celebrating and commiserating when it’s called for.
Your high performing team won’t always conquer, and won’t always feel excited and exhilarated by the next hurdle ahead – but they’re definitely more likely to stay loyal and productive if you show that you’re ‘in it with them’.
Want to know more about building a high performing team and how MAD-HR can assist with that?
Carole, Charlotte and the team have significant experience in helping entrepreneurs with this very process.
Contact us today by calling us on 01473 360160 or by using our contact page.