All business owners want their teams to operate efficiently and effectively. But how can you
create teams with high-functioning abilities? According to Harvard Business Review (HBR),
there are a few key strategies to create these teams — and measure their functionality.
In times like these, it’s more important than ever that teams work well together — if only
because of uncertain economic times and low morale/emotional fatigue from current events.
However, you can help them work together more effectively, which can help your employees’
morale — and your bottom line.
To learn more about what HBR says about building high-functioning teams, read on.
Components of a High-Functioning Team
According to HBR, “A real team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are
committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and an approach for which they hold
themselves mutually accountable.”
- Meaningful purpose. In order to have a high-functioning team, the members need to be working toward a meaningful goal — and be aware of this goal. A vague goal, such as “improve the company’s performance” will likely not lead to a focused effort that effective teams can produce.
- Performance goals. Having performance goals is key to motivation, as well. If a team knows their effort is making a difference and the team’s goal is being achieved, then everyone feels a sense of accomplishment.
- Skill mix. Having a variety of skills is key to a high-functioning team. Each member can contribute in a unique way. As a result, the team benefits from several skills and creative ideas, while individual members feel a sense of purpose.
- Time commitment. In order to function at a high level, team members need to commit time to the team goal. A vague purpose, timeline, or priority level will likely lead to failure of the team’s goal. So, team members need to schedule and commit time to the goal.
- Mutual accountability. Along the time commitment lines, team members need to be held mutually accountable for their efforts in the group. If someone falls behind or acts in a way that is not conducive to the rest of the group, the team needs to hold the individual accountable. This way, cooperative team behavior is encouraged and the group can thrive.
Once you’ve assembled a team with the above characteristics, you can see if your team is
functioning at a high level so you can adjust the components as needed.
“Litmus Test” for Team Performance
Once a team is implementing the above components, they can function at a high level. The
following tests will indicate if the components of a high-functioning team are being utilized
correctly in your groups.
- Shifting leadership. Although any team needs a leader to function, a high-functioning team shifts the leadership role to the most relevant, skilled member at different stages of the project. As a result, the person with the most knowledge of the skill most highly-utilized at the time is guiding the effort.
- Work-products. A high-functioning team creates products. If a team is failing to create and execute goals/create products of their work, they are not a high-functioning team, and the structure needs to be reevaluated.
- Peer accountability. As mentioned earlier, the whole team needs to be accountable for each other’s actions. This way, one “boss” or “enforcer” is not responsible for unhelpful behavior. And the team takes collective responsibility for their actions and successes.
Creating high-functioning teams is an interactive process, but one that is well-worth the result.
Note: While your team can implement the components and tests, sometimes it’s helpful to have an objective observer assist your organization.
How You Can Create High-Functioning Teams
Creating high-functioning teams is possible for any organization. However, the process can be
expedited with the help of professionals who specialize in the Entrepreneurial Operating System
If you want your teams to function at their highest level, contact us at Boston Business Growth.
We will be happy to help your organization and teams work together in more effective and