Posts Tagged ‘team development’

Connected teams show better business results

14 team strengths help to highlight key risk factors from the start of any corporate or business project:

  • 7 Productivity Strengths: Team Leadership, Goals & Strategies, Proactive, Decision-Making, Resources, Accountability, and Alignment
  • 7 Positivity Strengths: Trust, Respect, Camaraderie, Communication, Constructive Interaction, Values Diversity, and Optimism

For corporate projects and programs, it’s important to reveal the team’s existing way of work alongside what’s making them less productive. It’s easy to see the potential in 1000’s of teams by Team Coaching International benchmarking:

Benchmarking reveals: High performing, top teams outperform average teams by 42%

  • Productivity measures by 39%
  • Positivity measures by 46%

Business flourishes in high performing teams. The cost of poor performance is staggering in corporate projects. In the growth mindset, teams evolve behaviors and actions that open possibilities for effectiveness. Teams dissolve factors that close them in. Organizational culture is being fine-tuned within the team.


How to lead your teams to success – A 4-Stage Team Development Methodology

What’s measured gets done!  In my experience, measuring success is the core challenge for project success: How do you connect soft skills and knowledge goals to business measures? How does your project boost the business and people bottom-line? If you provide simple team measures, the environment and people are primed for flexibility, knowledge sharing, innovation, creativity and respect. You’ll institute a framework for successful, sustainable results!  The team development methodology contains 4 stages:

1) First, measure where the team is. In less than 20 minutes, you get a team snapshot. You meet the team and experts where they are. Cuts through the mess… What’s really happening and important for success? For possibly the first time, knowledge workers think of the team as an organic entity.

2) Second, create a roadmap – including how we want to be & where we want to go…. The 14 team success factors help to determine strengths & areas of growth. Buy-in for project goals to internal needs. What’s missing?  What’s not being said?  What wants to happen?  It’s a BIG step to align expectations.

3) Third, work as a team, to get there…. With awareness, teams grow and develop as a system – a natural process for realizing, practicing and integrating new methods. With focus, teams begin to evolve and produce more sustainable results.  Generate new agreements & rules of engagement. Produce the results!

4) Fourth, see improvements with AFTER measures!  The project team gets quick feedback on changes. Concrete measures that show improvement as a team. In my experience, when team growth is paired with challenging business goals, business thrives.

How teams drive the business success formula?

July 4, 2012 1 comment

Think for a moment about your company project…  What’s missing?  What burdens or limits? Are you focused on people, but wanting faster, more measurable results? To motivate today’s knowledge workers for successful projects, a shift in focus is necessary – from individuals to growing teams.  

This Business Success Formula reveals a power shift:

  • Peak Performance (High Performing Team) = Big Challenge (High Productivity) + Space to Excel (High Positivity) + Engaged People (Thriving Knowledge Workers)

Business success is based on peak performance of knowledge workers and their team. According to Vineet Nayar’s Harvard Business Review Blog, 21 June 2012, the key is creating high performing teams with 3 factors:

  1. Big Challenge – compels the team forward to accomplish the challenge with productivity, shared vision and responsibility!
  2. A Space to Excel – teams in a supportive space where it’s OK to make a mistake – a space to experiment, innovate and create! It’s not enough to just do it….
  3. Engaged People – teams connect with great energy to reach a solution to their challenge!

When engaged people are connected, the formula is simpler: 2 dimensions measure business success, according to research by Team Coaching International: 

  1. Productivity – At its core, teams exist to produce results! Motivated by the big challenge.
  2. Positivity – Team members must also feel connected! Motivated by a positive space to excel.

From your projects, you know: motivating knowledge workers deals with both dimensions – removing obstacles for better productivity and enhancing the environment for a more collaborative, positive space. Therefore, team performance measures are an effective tool for motivating knowledge workers.  You shift from a static, rigid business-as-usual mindset into a growth mindset – from thinking “knowledge is power” to “knowledge management is empowering”.

How have you changed your project due to the team need?!

Why does the team answer key knowledge management challenges?

For strategic HR projects, you focus on “talent working together”.  You’ve already recruited the best.  You train your leadership.  Compensate and review fairly.  But what can be done about the “glue” of employee engagement, innovation and collaboration? How can you foster high-performing, sustainable teams – your #1 organization asset ….

For KM projects, you focus on “talent’s organizational knowledge”.  You capture, share, use, reuse and create knowledge. Make knowledge accessible, usable with tools and processes. Focus upon experts.  How can you focus on the right issues that will make an impact?  How can you get the buy-in?  What’s the “glue” behind the KM tools, skills and processes? It’s NOT just the individual.  It’s the relationships and operational units that make the difference. The KM context is the team – your #1 organization asset ….

How can you leverage your team in YOUR strategic HR and KM project?

Why system-oriented leadership?

What is the biggest leadership challenge today?  Flexibility. Market flux. Short development cycles. Closing the innovation gap.

How do leaders make an impact?  Results are produced by teams. Leaders make an impact via their teams and other relationships.

Picture Courtesy of Venkatesh Rao of RibbonFarm (

Teams are the GLUE of businesses today! Like a key igniting the engine, the leader is an integral part of driving the team; like the engine, the team is the basic operational component in business. But like an organism, the engine needs to be developed to grow!  What are you losing by NOT developing your teams – your #1 asset?

Are your teams struggling?  High performing & looking for next innovative edge?  Burned out, missing deadlines, over budget? Newly forming? Part of organization in transition? M&A? Undertaking important project? Working in silos? Impacted by gossip & turf protection or other toxic behaviors?

Teams are relationship systems.  With awareness, systems grow and develop – a natural process. With focus, teams begin to produce more sustainable results.  Therefore, it’s a natural process to strive to be better and to advance with follow-up guidance.

Team intelligence or collective intelligence is at the kernel. It’s the entity that binds the team.  That can be greater than the sum of the parts.  If leaders develop team intelligence as a system, the team becomes stronger.  The team grows.  The team is robust to today’s challenges.  The team produces results.  The leader makes greater impact!

Why is POSITIVITY crucial for teams and relationships?

February 6, 2012 Leave a comment

A perplexed team leader approached me with the following.  His team is bringing in the results.  Performing well.  Reaching quotas.  But he doesn’t understand why morale is low.  Why aren’t his people motivated…

What’s missing?

  • People are working so hard on their individual goals.  They don’t understand what connects them…  There’s no time.  Is there a need?
  • For sustainable teams.  For teams who want to maintain performance.  For teams who want to face new challenges, flux in the market.  Look to positivity…

Losado and Heaphy’s research shows that the POSITIVITY / NEGATIVITY ratio is a prime driver for performance.  (see post “what happens when teams CONNECT?!”).  When verbal communication in 60 highly diverse business teams was coded by researchers, it was very interesting to note how the emotional space was effected!  “High Positivity/Negativity ratios create expansive emotional spaces and low ratios create restrictive emotional spaces (Losada, 1999)”.

A powerful feedback system.  Support, encouragement and appreciation are shown to be a critical part in promoting human interation that brings results.  While sarcasm and cynicism dampen performance. Therefore, as the perplexed team leader has seen through experience: It’s not enough to set the goals, have the same values, work process and accountability.  Positivity factors must also be taken into account by teams.

What does the Positivity/Negativity data reveal?  “The P/N ratio showed strikingly different results for each performance category. For high performance teams, the ratio was 5.614, for medium performance teams was 1.855 and for low performance teams was .363. The P/N ratio for high performance teams is very similar to the one that Gottman (1994) found for couples that were able to achieve a harmonious and sustainable relationship over time. Gottman also found that couples whose marriages ended in divorce had a preponderance of negativity over positivity in their overall interaction over time, just like the low performance team in our study: “Dissolution is related to positive-to-negative ratios of less than one (there is more negative than positive), whereas stability is associated with ratios that are around 5.0” (Gottman, 1994, p. 331).”

It’s just straight-forward…  Improve positivity.  Improve performance.  For strong, viable teams and relationships!

What’s the NEW model for today’s teams?

February 1, 2012 Leave a comment

Connection drives team performance.  That’s the message of Losada & Heaphy’s nonlinear dynamics and empirical research (see post “what happens when teams CONNECT?!”).  Businesses want efficiency and results.  How are results achieved in organizations?  By teams!  Teams exist to produce results.  Our goal is therefore high performing teams.

The old, out-of-date model for team development is Form-Storm-Norm-Perform (Tuckman).  In today’s world of work which is so fast-paced and where change is continuous, this simply is not working….  Performance is a context, not an outcome of teams.

The new model focuses on Connect-Engage-Act (Smith & Berg).  Based on creating the right relationships in teams that can be flexible and withstand change, strain of opposition and conflict.  Connection is the basis.  Its the performance driver.  Leaving performance as the context. The new model is supported by Losado and Heaphy’s mathematical model. Connect-Engage-Act is a virtuous circle of team dynamics.  Integrating differences, accepting diversity, responsive to one another.  Leading to openness, empathy and trust.  For a sustainable unit over time that’s attuned to the fast-paced, changing business environment.

The bottom line:  The new model for today’s teams focuses on relationships and connections in teams from the start. No time to wait for forming, storming and norming. Put Performance in Context. The organizational product is the Connected Team.  The Connected Team is the team that succeeds in today’s business environment of flux, change and fast-paced.  The Connected Team is the one that engages, acts and brings business results!