At Summit Group we often emphasize how important it is that teams have a clear vision of who and how they would like to be as a high performing group. This type of vision is about team culture: how people will ideally work together, treat each other, relate, communicate, support one another etc., as a high performing, productive team. Such vision is critical. Whether on a remote mountain, a busy freeway or a country road, we need to know the destination before we can go there together.
But simply knowing the destination is not enough to get us there. Even when we are taking a drive through familiar territory we must constantly check for landmarks, watch for signs, even use GPS technology to assess where we are along the route. Then we can anticipate and plan our next move. Whether we are drivers or passengers, I think this need to know where we are is pretty close to innate. (If you have ever traveled in a car with toddlers you will be familiar with the persistent and urgent phrase, “Are we there yet”?) Team members also need to know and confront where they are with respect to their vision of high performance culture. You can give them that information through simple, regular team culture assessments.
There are many existing assessments of team ‘health’ or ‘performance’. They can help you gauge where you are on your collective journey, and if you are moving towards or away from your target. If you have described clearly your vision of a high performing team, and have identified key member behaviours in a “best practices” or “code of conduct”, you may be able to create your own meaningful assessment tool by attaching criteria and a scale to each item. The important thing is to assess the team’s progress in a meaningful way and at regular intervals. It opens dialogue, motivates and keeps the team developing in a positive and deliberate way.
Over the next few blog entries, I will describe some ideas about which behaviours are reported to be most crucial for high perfromance and productivity, and give some sources for assessments.