The Top Tips for Building Team Performance

Posted June 22, 2010 in Latest News & Insights

In these times of shrinking resources and escalating targets, leaders everywhere are keen to find ways to accelerate their team’s performance.  During a recent e-Roundtable, Max Carbone, President of TeamWorks, shared with Executive Roundtable members his top team building tips gleaned from his close to 20 years of working with senior executive teams.  Here are some of the highlights.

To set the context Max shared the topline results from the bestseller “What Really Works.”  The book researched winning companies and found, amongst several eye-popping statistics, that “winners” showed an overall ROI of 945% vs. 62% for losers, profit levels over 5x that of “losers” and employee satisfaction in the top quartile (vs. the losers that were at the bottom of the heap).  The book shared that winners do ALL 4 of the following activities: 

  1. Strategy – Team based game plans
  2. Execution – Top quartile performance
  3. Culture  – High performance team
  4. Flat Structure  – Minimize bureaucracy

 And that they do ANY 2 of 4 following activities: 

  1. Talent  – Build & grow talented employees
  2. Innovation – Disruptive, innovative
  3. Leadership – Great executives, pay linked to results
  4. M&A – Small, steady, bite sized acquisitions

Reality check:  How is your team doing on the top 4 measures and 2 options?

In Max’s experience, for teams to be “on their game”, leaders need to instill the Five “P’s” of Team Performance:

Purpose: be clear on the objective of the team; what are you there to accomplish?  A clear purpose instills pride and keeps people focussed on a “bigger” agenda.

Passion: as important as keeping team members enthusiastic, team leads must be passionate about their mission.

Potential (Talent): the backbone of any group effort, talent needs to be recruited and nurtured… team leaders need to know who they need “on the bus”.

Plan: Plans need to be continually reviewed to keep the team on track

Productivity (Measures & Accountability): assigning tasks, measuring success and rewarding results are an oft overlooked element of successful team development.

Although 5% of your time may be taken to write your plan, and 95% on execution, it’s important to do team planning properly.  Rather than delivering a “sermon from the mount”, Max provided his time-tested structure as a great way to involve your team in the planning process.  If you want accountability, then people have to have a say in how things are going to roll out.  And, be sure to plan for enough time for the discussion.  Here are the elements to include in a solid strategic business planning session:

 Environment Overview

 Market Research / Information

 SWOT (Strengths / Weaknesses / Opportunities / Threats)

 Purpose (Mission / Vision)


 Goals (S.M.A.R.T.)


 Action Plan

 *Max’s tip for surfacing hurdles was to ask people to write down their concerns and submit them to you individually.  Opening the discussion to group, depending on the players, can delay or stall the planning process.  If you are aware of individual concerns, speak to individuals one on one following the session.  In Max’s experience, often the people who raise the concerns are the ones who step up to lead the initiatives to help solve them.

With you action plan in hand, it’s now up to you as the team lead to champion the team forward.  Key success factors to help you reach the results you want, include: 

  • Regular Team Review of Goals & Actions (Quarterly)
  • Hold Team Accountable To One Another
  • Reward Successes & Celebrate Results
  • Correct Mistakes & “Penalize” Failure (deal with non-performance quickly) 
  • Upgrade Team & Trade Away Underperformers 
  • Align Incentives with Great Team Behaviour

And, you don’t have to be the CEO to bring these activities and principles to your team.  You may not have complete control of compensation incentives (for example), but you can probably come up with some non-monetary rewards/recognition programs that can motivate just as effectively.  Thanks again to Max Carbone for sharing his insights with our group.  Join us at our next series: check out our upcoming events by visiting our website.

Happy leading!

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