What Enables Higher Performance in Teams?

by: Dean Fulford

We feel we have a high performing team at Stratford Managers. It feels great to be able to say that… wonderful people who are willing to share what they’ve learned over their careers to help other leaders and organizations grow, improve, or transform.

But in my mind, one of most critical factors that enables our team to be so great is that we are an accountable team. We display all the characteristics – quite naturally – that are needed in teams that are accountable.

As I researched accountability, I was often led to examples of sports teams. Here is a great example from David Kirk as he talks about his experience as the Captain of the famed New Zealand All Blacks rugby team in an older McKinsey article titled “World Class Teams“.

In the article David talks about the following characteristics being evident in successful teams in both sport and business:

  • Teams have something to believe in; they are rational but they are also emotional
  • The value of complementary, highly skilled people
  • Having an attitude to learning and growth that is never satisfied with past achievements
  • A set of boundaries that define behaviours that are acceptable or not
  • The capacity to recognize, face, and tackle interpersonal issues promptly

To David Kirk’s list, I suggest that we add:

  • A set of agreed to measures of team success (along with some structure to share progress easily)
  • An absolute commitment to each other’s success

So tell us… do you see these characteristics in your team? What other characteristics are contributing to your team’s success? We’d love to hear about them.

Helping leaders develop the leadership competencies needed to create accountable teams will be the focus our of next program – called Leading Teams for Success. Please reach out to me (Dean Fulford dean.fulford@stratfordmanagers.com) if you’re interested in learning more about this program.

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