High-Performing Teams

Why High-Performing Teams Need Continuous Re-Evaluation

As disruption and change are rapidly reshaping the workplace, it is imperative to harness a growth mindset to keep up with, and adjust to, new norms and necessities. According to Mercer's Global Talent Trends report, business leaders must learn to become "smartly agile." In other words, they need to evaluate which elements within the business should be kept stable and which should be dynamic. Strategizing this framework is a challenging balancing act that can easily cause confusion if not communicated with purpose and clarity from the top-down.

The Age of Continuous Re-Evaluation

In such a fast-paced market, leaders should continuously evaluate their processes, values, and overarching purpose. Frequently revisiting these elements ensure they are up to date with the marketplace's needs and their employees' expectations. While some structures should stay relatively stable, such as a company's mission and values, others will likely change along with outside factors such as technology and the economy. According to a McKinsey study, when the executive team is working together toward a shared vision, there is a 1.9 times increased likelihood of having above-average median financial performance. However, even the most meaningful mission requires clarity across projects, tasks, interactions, and deliverables if the team is to stay aligned.

Where to Remain Consistent

Maintaining a consistent and united purpose throughout your company helps build community and provides an essential need that today's workforce is seeking. Communicating your purpose clearly ensures that every member of the organization is on the same page. Research tells us that the most successful organizations tie purpose to human constituents, have trust, engage in genuine dialogue, and deliver purposeful experiences. Purpose in work is quickly becoming one of the top priorities for today's employees.

Where to Restructure

Your granular strategy should be continually revisited for relevance. These elements include things like team structure, task distribution, and personal time management.

TIP : Take a day every quarter to evaluate what is working well, what could improve, and to measure how well you are tracking with the needs of your clients and competitors.

Team elements that you can always evaluate for improvement include:

  • Realigning team structure to better assign projects to people passionate about that type of work
  • Realigning how you track progress and production as a team

However, these more static elements are where clear communication is imperative to ensure every employee is on the same page and working toward the same goal. Sometimes a team starts with a united vision, but because team members interpret the leader's communication differently, the vision gets muddled. Team members with different understandings of the vision will work differently, resulting in incoherence.

A Top-Down Implementation

While a growth mindset is necessary at the top, it should also trickle down to the team and individual level. For teams to perform well, they need purpose and role clarity, especially considering the amount of change that can be expected from continuous re-evaluation.

Deloitte research states that many teams fail because they assumed they couldn't improve, change, or re-frame their situation. Often, the smartest and most technical teams are the ones that get stuck in this way. Intelligence and prior success lull these teams into thinking that if challenges cannot be solved with tried and tested solutions, they can't be solved at all. This is also a pitfall of not having a clearly defined and thoroughly communicated purpose.

On the other hand, the most successful high-performing teams have a growth mindset. Because they view failure as a part of reaching success, they risk more, innovate more, and feel freer to think creatively. A growth mindset leads to the creation of better solutions that the employees are passionate about. Companies with a growth mindset know they have the best solutions because their team has the freedom to throw any idea on the table and exhaust all options without fear.

A Uniting Purpose

According to Gallup, goal setting gives employees meaning in their day-to-day roles. Employees who are brought along on the goal-setting journey are 3.6 times more likely to be engaged than those who are not. These employees feel confident in what's expected of them at work, understand their path for development, and feel that they are making an actual difference in their organization. Employees who work with their leaders to find the tasks that incorporate their interests and work styles are more motivated and committed to team success.

Teams need clarity in these critical areas:

  • How they provide social value to the company, clients, and community
  • How work and team priorities need to shift to meet market needs
  • How individual roles transition in the agile workplace
  • Transparent and clear expectations of individual and team assignments
  • Why prior drivers of performance may need to be abandoned to create continued success

Role Clarity

Inc. accurately states that the only thing worse than not knowing what someone else is doing is not knowing what you're doing. When roles are unclear, paid employees waste time wondering what to work on and what direction to go in once they choose a task.

High-performing teams depend on role clarity. Each person on the team should be aware of what they're expected to contribute and the consequences if they do not get their work done. Role clarity also assumes all team members are aware of what others are working on to a certain extent, to avoid clashing goals or overlapping tasks.

Mercer's Global Talent Trends suggest that team structure and strategy should mimic the flexibility of the overarching business. The overarching goal and purpose (the "why") of a team need to be aligned to ensure consistency and community. However, it is in a leader's best interest to operate more personally when it comes to the methods and processes (the "how") in which work is accomplished.

Unique benefits are likely to increase retention. Assuming there is trust between leaders and employees, allowing flexibility based on the personal relationship between a manager and subordinate will lead to higher satisfaction, engagement, and productivity. For example, while flexibility at work (flexible hours, offsite workspaces, and collaborative or independent workdays) might encourage some workers, flexibility away from work (medical and family leave, PTO, and development opportunities) will provide the needs of others. Allowing for flexibility in different areas for different employees will attract the most high-quality talent and ensure retention. You will also find your employees more rested, passionate, and inspired, knowing they are trusted and have a strong partnership with their boss.

For an employee to be motivated and enthusiastic about working within a team, you should:

  • Create a clear vision
  • Be on the same page about values
  • Set a defined goal that every team member understands

High-performing teams depend on role clarity to avoid clashing, overlapping, or conflict. Ensure your team's roles are clear and to the point by providing structure and strategy. Keep in mind that as teams grow, strategies can shift, and plans can change. Meet frequently to adjust and align.

Accomplish the Right Goals

Creating clear goals that beneficially impact other humans are crucial to motivating the workforce so they can perform at their best. But, how can you motivate your team after you have created a goal? Create a deep sense of purpose. Establish what success in their role looks like, how that contributes to the organization, and how customers benefit from a job well done.

Ensure your team has absolute clarity after creating your team's purpose and individual goals. Alignment in these areas and how your team will achieve them is critical. Misalignment causes distractions and frustration leading to differing priorities and employee conflict over which method is correct. To have clarity, your organization must be transparent by sharing information and challenges openly. According to Deloitte, only 18% of leaders believed they have a transparent and open model. Clarity, alignment, and transparency go hand in hand. Together, these can improve a team's ability to accomplish the right goals.

The Birkman Solution to Team Success

Uniting your team members with diverse personalities and viewpoints is a tall order, but our new High-Performing Teams Workshop provides self-awareness and emotional intelligence tools in a practical learning environment to drive Purpose, Clarity, and Psychological safety. Connect with an expert for a free demo to learn how you can take team performance to the next level. If you've got challenges, we've got tools. Let’s talk