Velas Coaching

How to build a high-performance team

So you want to form a high-performance team?.  Building a team is the first challenge that startups undergo, and it remains as tough as ever.  But the challenge is not limited to startups.  Awesome, ambitious, and capable people are always tapped, but they often represent different functions, products, lines of business, or geographies.  Many can see this as way for influencing, acquiring new resources, and even promotion.  They bring their own agenda, and sometimes the team goals become secondary.

Not surprisingly then, top-team building and performance are timeless business preoccupations, and they are universal.  Today, I would like to share with you three pieces, which would put into context the importance of building a team, but most importantly what can you do about it.   Whether you are a CEO or a first line supervisor, the challenges are the same and so is the approach.

  1. A recent report by McKinsey and company emphasizes that the most important component of team building is interpersonal interactions.  They recommend Offsite team building exercises of over two or more days.  They build the team first by doing real work together and making important business decisions, then taking the time to reflect on team dynamics. The result, a more cohesive and high-performance team.
  2. Google’s project Aristotle, was done when the company embarked on an initiative to study hundreds of Google’s teams and figure out why some stumbled while others soared.  The research yielded 5 behaviors that now has defined what type of training and development Google team leaders undergo.
  3. Finally, another report from McKinsey shows that a small subset of leadership skills closely correlates with leadership success.  These skills,  not surprisingly these behaviors are responsible for 89 percent of the variance between strong and weak organizations. 

There is no avoiding the time and energy required to build a high-performance team. Research clearly shows that executives are much more productive when working in one than they are in an average one.

CEOs and other senior executives should feel reassured, therefore, that the investment in building a high performing team will be worth the effort many times over. The business case doing is high, and the techniques for building one proven. Building cohesive and effective teams is something that should be a priority for any company executive.

As some people put it,  my team is professional and effective…. except for a few “little” issues that if improved could potentially be the difference between a good team and a great team.   You know the usual mistrust, factions, interpersonal dynamics and personality conflicts among others.  Do you have a plan to build a high-performance team to cope with the needs of the challenges ahead?

Luis Velasquez MBA, PhD

Luis is a leadership coach, employee engagement expert, and management trainer. Formerly a University professor and research scientist, Luis holds a dual Ph.D. from Michigan State University; and an MBA in Organizational Leadership.

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