BY Nicky Denegri

DATE: 16 MAY 2014

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creating high performing teams

When it comes to working with teams, we are often invited to get involved during a time of change and transition, conflict and unrest or the immediate aftermath of some such upset, with a view to helping the team find their way forward. As rewarding as it can be, it’s also a challenging process for all concerned. So it’s a real pleasure to get to work with a team that’s simply committed to its ongoing development and which believes that prevention is better than cure when it comes to minimising issues, developing skills and knowledge and  which understands that creating a high-performance culture doesn’t happen on its own.

So it is with one of our clients, who set aside a day every six months to review their planned goals, actual achievements and next steps in relation to new and existing goals, but who also build in time for some skills development to benefit themselves and their clients.

The most recent session we did with them had as its focus “high performing teams”.   This is a tricky area. First of all, it’s about defining what a high performing team looks like.

Our view is this:   

  • The team is clear about its strategic (i.e. marketplace) focus   
  • The team is clear about its goals within that marketplace   
  • The team is clear about who does what   
  • The team is clear about how things are done – so there are embedded processes, but the team has an open mind-set when it comes to reviewing how efficient and effective these processes are   
  • The team knows that from time to time, people will disagree.  However, in high performing teams, disagreements are acknowledged and addressed – respectfully, assertively and quickly   
  • The team respects its leader and looks to him or her to help develop individual and collective skills; the leader will be able to step back, delegate and not need (or want) to get involved in the minutiae of people’s tasks and projects

It’s not easy to create a team of this calibre in real life because lots of things get in the way. Agendas are in play. People don’t get on. People don’t like enforced change that takes them away from what they’d like to do (or have done historically) into more relevant areas that are reflective of the harsh realities of their businesses’ needs.


So, to create the high performance culture takes time, effort and continued focus.  It’s a little bit like developing a gym habit; we all know we should, but it doesn’t often happen.  We leave it to chance, hope for the best and then feel secretly (or not-so-secretly) disappointed when we don’t get a dream team, conveniently forgetting that this stuff doesn’t happen a) overnight or b) by itself.

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about the author

Nicky Denegri is our Senior Consultant. If you would like to know more about this subject, drop her an email and we will be in touch.

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