Building a High Performance Team

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International Information Technology University|
Building a high performance team
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Software Project Management|

Turtemir Kamila IS0906
03.12.2012
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Introduction
When a sports team is working well together, it can feel like magic. We've all experienced it, either as a team member or as a fan. Fortunately, you do not have to be Michael Jordan or Johan Cruyff to have the skills you need to build and lead high performing teams in your organization. In order to understand the competencies needed to build and lead high performance teams, it is helpful to first define a team. Here is a simple but effective description from The Wisdom of Teams (Harvard Business School Press, 1993.) "A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable." You can have the best tools, most productive processes and the biggest bank account, but none of this will produce results unless you have people.  Using this definition, we can outline three important competencies for the effective team builder and leader. * Promoting understanding of why a group of people need to be a team. The team needs to understand its shared goals and what each team member brings to the team that is relevant and crucial to its overall successes. * Ensuring the team has adequate knowledge to accomplish its task. This includes information relevant to the team's goals and individual job competencies. * Facilitating effective interaction in such as way as to ensure good problem solving, decision making and coordination of effort.

Topic description
An effective work team is a group of engaged individuals. In “The Toyota Way,” Jeffrey Liker tells us, “The center of TPS (Toyota Production System) is people. A common phrase heard around Toyota is 'Before we build cars, we build people.'” You can have the best tools, most productive processes and the biggest bank account, but none of this will produce results unless you have people. The research has been done, and the results are clear. People engaged in a common goal will trump advantages in resources, processes and capital. Just read the business best-sellers or search “employee engagement” if you need to see the business case for developing engaged employees. If you are reading this article, I assume you’re already convinced. A work group consists of individual people. To achieve high-performing teams, you must treat them as individual people. Individuals are engaged when they feel like their effort and opinions are valued and they are rewarded for their individual contribution. An individual’s manager is the most influential factor in the level of that individual’s engagement. Leaders of engaged work teams create shared goals, align goals with individual skills and aspirations, establish fair measures, delegate responsibility and authority, and reward individual contributions. Environment and market drive many of the specific leadership tasks required to sustain a high-performance team. The level of communication, feedback, authority and recognition are situational. Consider these ideas in the context of your situation and apply those that best fit your unique environment and work team.

Results of Literature Search
Characteristics of High-Performance Teams
As our firm has studied and researched teams and teamwork over the years, we have found consistently similar qualities in teams that achieve exceptional results. It’s a short list. In fact, it contains only six characteristics, but each one plays a specific and vital role in making the team effective. If any one of them is missing or inadequate, the team is, at best, limping. If two or three are lacking, this group is probably not a team at all. The accompanying model shows the six characteristics in abbreviated form.

1. Common purpose. The single most important ingredient in team success is a clear, common,...
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