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High Performance Teams

Service Desk Institute

High performance teams are characterized by the fact that the identity of each participant, as the team itself, is defined in relation to a shared vision.

It is not only about operational objectives, but also values and behaviors. Having already incorporated their skills and the ability to listen to each other, the team members focus on the development of this shared vision and continuously adjust its role to the role of each team member to the advantage of this vision, which is constantly changing following to the evolutions of the surrounding reality.

There are other questions that arise when discussing high performance teams, such as whether the development of individuals and teams in the same context for long periods can be considered infinite? Can we imagine a team gathered around an operational goal achieved with enthusiasm, to endure and even develop rapport and trust in new projects? Is it possible that individuals forget themselves for the sake of a collective success?

This article do not pretend to answer these questions, but rather to provide some reflections, starting by examining prerequisites needed for the existence of a high performance team.

Prerequisites for the formation of a high performance team aspects.

This type of teams finds its realization in their ability to share leadership, which requires its members have developed individual and collective skills and use them in the most favorable situation.

Individual Skills

Individual skills are linked to four requirements:

Collective Skills

Moreover, the situation conducive to the formation of a high performance team is one that lends itself to:

A high performance team is characterized by member’s behavior in three areas: decision process, communication and self-regulation.

Decision process

The ways in which a team can make decision can be group as:

Regardless on how the decision is made, members of high performance team accept and apply this decision. The decision is not so much a matter of the leader or expert, every member is accountable for it. It is also the responsibility of each member to influence each other, in such a way collectively skills can be developed to achieve a greater efficiency in the execution of the project. This suggests competition between members of a team should not exist.

Communications

Openness and sincerity, are the engine of communications. In our context we may observe the following behaviors:

Self-regulation

Team member of high-performance team dedicated much time and energy to self-regulation, as they do for the production of ideas or achievement of concrete results. There are two implicit rules that underpin the activity of self-regulation:

High-performance teams will react to conflicts in different ways:

The following table present the different maturity level, from a collection of individuals to a high-performance team.

Aspect

Collection of individuals

Group

Team

High-performance team

Reason of being

Individual production

Knowledge exchange

Project

Day to day adequacy of a shared vision

Relationships

Individualist “each on their own”

Priority: "doing things together, being in group"

Utilitarian: “Everyone agrees on a common mission, relationships derived from them”

Open: “Stewardship, solidarity, support”

Risks associated with relations

open competition

Symbiosis, priority in the relationship and integration

Conformism, each limited to what is expected of him

Loss of vision of reality prioritizing common sense at the expense of the concrete actions

Communications

Technical: exchange of information

Affective: Points to know each other better

Founded on proven trust

Unconditional acceptance

Goal Settings

Individual, challenge focused on activities related to the occupation of each members

Individual, but focused on meeting people satisfactions

Shared: focus on common success

In connection with the shared vision: each contributes to achieving these objectives: sharing responsibility

Relationship between activities

Little or no internal connection.

Internal links defined by management

Numerous, flexibility in the distribution of activities

Incorporated links

Working methods

Individual or defined by management

Exchange of personal methods to shift towards collective methods

Commonly identified, assessed and capitalized

Coexistence of individual methods and common methods + innovative methods

Decision making

By authority or legitimacy of status

By authority or legitimacy of status, after consulting with the group

By majority, after analyzing the options

Consensual; coexistence of different ways depending on the nature of the decision

Conflict resolution

Reporting line

Affective with risk of stagnation and false interpretations

Confrontational: conflicts are seen as a source of progress

Anticipation: Working in parallel on the group's production and relationships

Finally and in conclusion, high performance can be created and evolved, if the nature of the project is aligned to the common values and if the collective will is directed towards this values.