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Building High Performing Teams

What Are the Benefits of Having Teams in a Business Environment?

In brief because a team of people can achieve more than the sum of the total of the individuals skills alone. Wikipedia states that in a 2003 survey, HOW-FAR, revealed that Americans think that being a team player was the most important factor in getting ahead in the workplace.

Definition of a Team

So what exactly is a team? Well this depends on the definition you use. It can be a group of people united by a common business goal, a group of people committed to achieving common objectives. Teams can achieve so much and is the reason so much time and effort is spent on building teams and developing teams. You surf the net and type in team building as I have just done using Google and you’ll get 33,300,000 results the majority of of which will be trying to sell you team building events.

Why the Importance of High Performance Teams?

So why the interest? Well look what teams in a business environment can achieve:-

  • Generate a wider range of ideas and innovation than individuals;
  • Motivate themselves;
  • Bounce ideas off each team member;
  • Take more risks than individuals;
  • Have a range of personalities such as workers, thinkers, leaders who contribute the right balance of skills necessary to achieve high performance;
  • Support each other not just task oreintated;
  • Support mechanism which provide mentoring and allow others to grow in self-confidence

If you have the individuals with the potential to make a high performing team just imagine what they could achieve for your sales, turnover or bottom line!

Difference Between Team Building & Team Development

However it is important for people to recognise that there is a difference between team building and team development or team working. Team building involves bringing together new teams and giving them a sense of direction, a period of getting to know their colleagues, recognising skills and abilities. Team development is the next stage which involves teamworking skills such as sharing ideas, co-operating, being open and supporting one another. It is a common mistake that many of our clients make when they first approach us when seeking to define the issue for them. They confuse the term team building with teamworking. If you can’t define the problem then it is difficult to fix it.

Truckman’s Theory of Team Development

B W Tuckman expresses this as a 4 stage process in team development:-

1. Forming

  • The group gets together for the first time
  • Formal rules of working are yet to be established

2. Storming

  • Following the forming stage members grow in confidence and an amount of in-fighting is likely

3. Norming

  • Now the group moves onto establish norms in the form of systems and procedures

4. Performing

  • Finally the group becomes far more of a cohesive unit and starts to perform as a team.

How Do you Achieve Your Aims for High Performing Teams?

So how do you build a successful and high performing team? Good question and if you look at all the 33 million search results on Google you’ll find many people professing to know the answer. Our advice is to consult the experts as they have the experience to help. However be careful as you may not be able to see the wood for the trees.You know what you need from your teams, you know the individuals. What you need from an expert is not for them to preach to you but the individuals to learn for themsleves through experiential learning. Let the experts give you the structure and context within which you can build your teams back in the workplace.

Just one final point to think on – successful teams are led from the front by people who know what they want and can inspire others to achieve greatness. – those whose show leadership skills. Argh but that’s another story!

For more information on team building visit our webpage

"Experience plus reflection equals learning" - John Dewey