Teamwork makes dreams work – Organisations with high performance teams are more likely to be financially successful and culturally balanced. We know from our own experience that the way a team works together determines its performance and success as a whole. An organisation that has strong, healthy teamwork also has much higher levels of engagement.
By high performance teams we mean teams that are powerful, fast and self-organised to achieve or even exceed goals. In order to achieve this, each team member is perceived holistically, i.e. as a human being with his or her own needs, abilities, views and opinions. It is not “nice living” – on the contrary. It is about achieving goals, leading the business into the future and at the same time creating a culture of cooperation that makes people “addicted to more”.
The team is the smallest structural unit of cooperation. What does not work in the team will not work in the organisation. The starting point for change in a company or organisational unit is always the top management team. The systemic prerequisites for high-performance teams are created here. This is because top management shapes the culture, decides on the structure, selects the methodology and is thus decisively responsible for high performance in teams and in the entire company.
Figure 1: Systemic prerequisite and conception of the framework
In the first step, the current social system is recorded together with the top management. The focus here is on the given framework conditions, the world view and existing attitudes that determine the current use of (management) tools. Once the initial assessment is complete, it is important to work out the adjustments that will make it possible to establish a high-performance team.
Figure 2: Requirements for the social system and transformation potential
Setting up a new, fresh team also starts with this step. However, the focus here is exclusively on the target picture, which is defined with regard to the given framework conditions. The target picture should provide information about the necessary world views, attitudes and tools of the acting actors for the following steps. This is because the creation of the social system already begins with the first contact of potential team members. The design and focus of the selection process ensure that the world views and attitudes of the new member complement the team positively. The team is initialised and built according to the principles of high performance cultures. The first initialisation workshop brings clarity about the team goals and values, about roles and responsibilities, about the competences and expectations of individuals, about how to deal with obstacles and problems, and about the way of working together. This is because when applying the tools, a common understanding of the underlying theories is crucial for high performance.
Figure 3: Contents of the team initiation workshop
In the start-up phase, active support for the team as a whole as well as support for internal interactions is highly recommended. In the first phase, the cooperation model defined in the initiation workshop is brought to life and actively tested. In this critical phase, the common concern must be discussed again and again and at the same time a setting must be created in which psychological security and a space for vulnerability can be perceived for all participants.
Figure 4: Structure High-Performance Teams
A common concern, psychological security and vulnerability form the breeding ground for high-performance teams. Once this basis has been created, trust can develop, the willingness to engage in conflict with regard to professional disputes – without taking it personally – becomes greater and both self-discipline and self-organisation develop steadily. Supported by complete transparency, the team will take responsibility for each other in order to achieve the common goal. Accompanied by systemic intervention, the team will develop into a culture of mutual trust and affinity for conflict – the characteristics of high-performance teams. This development process takes place separately in each team and differs in detail from team to team.
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Markus Fost, MBA, is an expert in e-commerce, online business models and digital transformation, with broad experience in the fields of strategy, organisation, corporate finance and operational restructuring.Learn more