A challenge for any leader is assembling and stimulating a team that performs efficiently and effectively to achieve a high level of success. For leaders facing this challenge, there is a proven and workable 4-step process for building high-performing teams in almost any environment or situation (Eales-White, 2012).
Step 1. Create the right environment. As a team, together identify the key values that will define the attitudes, actions, and values of the team. For example, “respect each other.” This step will define the team culture that will maximize the contributions of all members to achieve collective success. Getting team member input sets expectations and builds commitment.
Step 2. Promote group discovery. Discovering and developing creative ideas is the purpose of this step. To accomplish this, criticism is discouraged, and helping others develop their ideas is encouraged. This step reveals the knowledge, experience, and skill of the team members and leads to the setting of mutual goals and the foundation of a strategy to achieve them. After this step, the team has buy-in from all members as to the direction and mission of the team.
Step 3. Harness the power of the process. In this step, the team determines a) the single most important strategic issue, b) develops a statement of intent with a time-frame for achievement, c) determines what success looks like and how it will be measured, d) decides the actions to be taken to achieve that success, e) develops a process plan that determines what will be done, by whom and when.
Step 4. Review and revise. Periodically review progress toward team goal attainment, and modify steps 1, 2, and 3 as needed.
High-performing teams happen only when each member makes a maximum contribution to the success of the whole. This 4-step process will, in most cases, make that happen.
Eales-White, R. (2012). Building high-performing teams rapidly. Industrial and Commercial Training, 44(7), 424-428.