Team Development

Assessing a Team’s Readiness to Become a High Performing Team

Some of us can only imagine what a high performing team might look and feel like.  Others know firsthand and wish that they can replicate it with other teams. The extraordinary results that are produced by a high-performing team is undeniable, but not every team is ready to do the hard work to get there.  Is your team ready?  Here are 7 factors to help you determine if your team is ready for the challenge.

Every team wants to perform, but
not every team is ready to do the hard work.

  1. Is there a Vision? Like any goal, unless the team has a clear picture of what it wants to achieve and why it’s important, it will be a confusing, frustrating, and disappointing journey.  The simple questions to ask here is does your team have a vision for itself?  Do members imagine the team making better, faster decisions? Do they see themselves achieving goals and getting great results? Do they see themselves having lively discussions and productive debates? Do they see themselves as a highly cohesive team?
  2. Are they prepared to do whatever it takes? A team with a clear vision and optimistic outlook will muster up the necessary energy and time to do whatever it takes to get things right. Is your team ready for this type of “heavy lifting”?  Becoming a highly productive and cohesive team can only be achieved if everyone is willing to invest the time and energy in the team’s development.
  3. Is the team really a TEAM? Not every group is a team. A group that appears to be a team might simply be a collection of people who report to the same manager, but who have little interdependence and mutual accountability. If the group isn’t a true team, any development effort is unlikely to produce the results they expect.
  4. Is the leader committed? Is the team leader prepared to lead the effort in terms of setting an example and dedicating time to it. Success is possible as long as team leaders are willing to start the process with a strong commitment and good intentions.
  5. Is this the right time? You may want to consider postponing team development efforts if  there is an unusually heavy workload with impending deadlines, and/or if there is going to be or has recently been a significant organizational change, such as a merger, a reorganization, or a new leader.
  6. Do they have a team development model to guide their efforts? Not just any model.  A proven assessment-driven model that reliably measures the team’s level of functioning around key behaviors and processes that will make a team more cohesive and high-performing.
  7. Do they have a trusted and experienced facilitator? Let’s face it, team development sessions can get intense. Members can become emotionally expressive. The team leader can get defensive. Timelines and scripts can get thrown out the window.  You want an experienced facilitator who can influence whether a team sees an uncomfortable moment through or misses out on an opportunity to grow. A trusted guide with instincts for when to stick with the agenda and when to improvise, when to let debate play out and when to cut it short.

Tom Sullivan, MPA, Organizational Development Consultant, ProGrowth Associates LLC
Accredited Facilitator of the Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team

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