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The 6 Steps To A High Performing Team


The model outlines that in building a high performing team the process broadly follows these 6 steps. This is particularly relevant for a brand new team or one which has seen significant changes in its purpose. Of course there may be some changes in team membership, stakeholder expectations, or other variables which may change the nature of the team – hence the backwards and forwards arrows. Here are each of the steps, below.

STEP Activity Strengths Focus
1. Purpose – why are we here? A feature of high performing teams is that team members are very clear and very committed to the aim or purpose of the team. Time and energy should be put into getting to this point early on in the life of a team. It should be revisited regularly. Our purpose will ideally be something that allows us to play to our strengths. Our strengths should suit our purpose.
2. People – who are we? For people to work well together, it is important that they know one another’s strengths, values, skills and expertise. Teams should make time to do this exploration. Identifying one another’s strengths (and weaknesses) is an important part of knowing who is in the team and what they bring to the table. Chapters 6, 7, and 8 show you how to do this. It’s also useful for the team to have an overview of its collective strengths, and significant weaknesses, by pooling the individual data.
3. Priorities – what are our goals? To deliver on the purpose of the team, the team needs to clarify what success with the team purpose will look like at some point in the future. What are the priorities? How will we measure our success?
It will also be useful for the team to know what individual goals people have, what they want to get from their membership of the team.
The goals should take account of the team’s strengths (and weaknesses).
4. Plan – what, when and who? At this stage the individual strengths that team members bring can be aligned with the roles they will take in achieving the team’s goals. A clear plan of action to achieve the team’s goals is created. Each individual knows what he or she needs to contribute in order for the team to succeed. Team members can share their expectations of one another. The team spends time ensuring that individual strengths and roles are matched in a way that plays to the team’s strengths.
The action plan for each individual will ideally play to his or her strengths. Based on the team’s knowledge of individual strengths, complementary role sharing can be planned where useful.
5. Performing – how will we deliver great teamwork? The team clarifies what processes, systems and behaviours it needs to have in place in the team for the team to succeed. This will include communication, information sharing, decision-making, conflict management etc. How the team will work effectively with stakeholders will also be considered. Communication processes, e.g. team meetings, and one-to-one reviews will want to ensure they focus on building individual and team strengths, as opposed to a focus on problems/weakness. See Chapters 9-13 for a variety of ways to build these strengths-focused processes.
6. Performance Plus – how did we do it? What next? The team will have a process in place to regularly review its achievements, celebrate and reflect on how its success was achieved, and what to learn from it in terms of planning the next steps. It will also address any critical weaknesses or failings, and what to learn from them to create greater success. The process will ensure that there is a focus on strength and achievement in order to build and enhance the team’s success. This will obviously be balanced with the need to take on any learning from critical weaknesses or failings. Weakness will be managed from a position of strength. See Chapters 9-13 for a variety of ways to continually focus on strengths.

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