With over 20 years of Executive and Business Psychology, David Munro recently shared his recommendations on supporting leaders to go from “good to great” in their performance and careers to over 100 attendees at a virtual Brisbane Business Hub masterclass.
HABITS OF HIGH PERFORMING TEAMS
“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” Phil Jackson, NBA Executive & Michael Jordan’s Coach
Many models or frameworks will tell you the components of high performing teams, everything from aligned purpose and clear roles to psychological safety. These can be useful in helping us understand what good looks like or the conceptual pieces of the puzzle to put together.
But how do you put these into action or make them tangible? What are you actually going to DO? Bridging the gap between knowing and doing is a core part of the work Executive Performance Partners focus on in their work. As partners to a wide range of CEO’s, Executives and business owners, they have worked with a wide range of top teams and identified three key actions to build team performance.
Action 1 : Objectives
High performing teams know where they are going and have a clear set of collective objectives. When this exists, the team experiences benefits such as:
- Team members to feel empowered
- A sense of ownership of the end-goal
- Aligned team
- A sense of motivation
- Healthy team culture and teamwork
- Positively impacts the client experience
Building a Scorecard for Success is one powerful way to craft and represent these team objectives. Doing so can align both the critical purpose and objectives of the team in a practical way while allowing individuals to feel ownership over their success and that of the team. 5 key tips for building a powerful Scorecard for Success are:
- Define what success looks like by harnessing the power of appreciative inquiry.
- Identify your Performance/Lag Indicator; set your measurable end goals.
- Identify your Input/Lead Indicator; capture early success measures to build confidence and clarity.
- Be realistic about the current baseline of performance on these key measures and how these measures are collected and influenced.
- Identify key behaviours that will bridge the current performance (good) to the future state (great).
You cannot monitor what you cannot measure. This Scorecard approach ensures clear objectives, measures and accountability.
Action 2 : Mindset
One key differentiator of high-performing teams is building and maintaining mindsets that foster their success. While there are many worthy of mention here, two that land well no matter the team are:
- “What’s my 51%” – this mantra is all about looking to what you can own within any situation. What is the team’s role in a challenge or opportunity, and how might they, or an individual, take the first step.
- Control your fight or flight responses by focusing on your circle of control. We all have moments where our biology pulls us into focusing on problems, not solutions. High performing teams have high trust and clear phrases in place to pull an individual member or the broader team out of a protection mindset into a reward mindset.
This allows for greater problem solving, enhanced resilience, more creativity and collaboration. In essence, these teams prompt each other to get back into a growth mindset and focus on achievement.
Action 3 : Habits
The easiest way to master sustainable high performance is to leverage the power of habits at an individual and team level. The more we harness the power of our automatic behaviour, the easier we achieve our goals. Habits help us do that. This means small, consistent actions aligned with the team’s objectives, crafted intentionally.
The specific habits for each team can differ however, the components to turning any behaviour into a habit are consistent.
- Start small, start confidently. All too often, we believe the mantra ‘go big or go home’ and it sets us up for failure. We learn best when we feel successful, so when first building a new habit, it’s important to focus on the smallest action that can be taken with the greatest degree of confidence. With this feeling of having the wind at your back, the big steps come easily.
- Define the specific steps. Any behaviour has a before, a during and an after. It’s important to be high resolution in defining what behaviour we actually want. For example:
- “After we arrive at a meeting, we will put our phones on do not disturb mode”.
- “After a team member brings up a problem, we will say, “what do you think is the best way forward?”
- Celebrate when you do it. What happens immediately after we do something has a monumental impact on whether we will do that behaviour again. Here time is in milliseconds, so a monthly recognition or quarterly bonus doesn’t have much impact. Teams we wire in strong habits celebrate each other and themselves when they make those first wobbly attempts at doing something different. Progress over perfection is a great mantra here.
- Dial it in (repeat). Practice and drills are an accepted part of elite sports performance, and the same approach is powerful in business. With any new habit or behaviour, practice it five times in quick succession, celebrating with each ‘repetition’.
So, what to do now?
- Carve out 20 minutes to begin your Scorecard for Success, focus on producing a 30% version, share it with someone who matters (your manager, your mentor) and keep iterating.
- Seek an opportunity to apply one of the mindset tips to overcome a team behaviour or challenge.
- Identify a habit you want to form – focus on making the smallest, most achievable change possible that day.