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Building High Performance Through Change

'High-performing teams', 'high-performance'.. these terms are not just buzz phrases, rather integral components to a successful organisation.

Building High Performance Through ChangeWhy is it so important to have high-performing teams?

  • Change in business is a certainty, therefore effectively responding to change is a must
  • Individual contribution is important, yet team delivery is critical
  • A measure of success for an organisation is profit, and the greatest challenge is achieving it through people
  • People are focused on purpose and a sense of fulfilment in their lives. Being part of an organisation and being successful in their career is more important than ever before
  • People working together in a high-performing team are the key to a high-performance culture. It starts at the top of every organisation with senior leadership

Five steps to building your high-performing team

  1. Define your state

    Define where your organisation and team are right now and where you need them to be. Forming, storming, norming and performing is an easy start: a model designed to illustrate that all these phases are necessary for a team to grow and deliver results.

    Forming: The team meets and initially it is hard to work together as people are wary of each other.

    Storming: Tension and reactive behaviours are in play and there are often unauthentic conversations as participants focus on individuals, rather than the issues. Personality clashes must be resolved before progressing out of this stage.

    Norming: Issues are addressed in this phase, rather than people. Participants are clear on their roles and work towards a common goal. There are higher levels of trust and better collaboration.

    Performing: Team members are now competent. Each person takes responsibility for their part in the team and there is a sense of ownership and accountability. Teams are clear on goals and how they will achieve outcomes together.

    Once your environment is defined, work on building a 6 to 18-month engagement plan to shift your people and organisation into high performance.

  2. Challenge your leaders to step into the journey for themselves

    A long-term approach achieves culture change. It takes courageous leaders to choose to step into high performance for themselves.

    Leaders need to take ownership for their fears and consider their individual impact. Being open to feedback about the effect they have is the greatest challenge. Leaders must work to understand how they can be more effective and be a better version of themselves. This willingness to grow takes courage.

    Working with others to find ways to align and be part of a high-performing team is critical. The objective is to step in and move from being a dysfunctional and self-focused leader, to a team-focused leader wanting to achieve goals together.

  3. Create the plan to high performance

    Here is a recommended formula to follow: Align, engage and enable.

    Align: Identify the vision and why the team is going there.

    Engage: Leaders should take ownership for their part in high performance and commit to working with their peers and team. Create clear purpose and commit to being part of the journey for themselves.

    Enable: Provide teams with the right knowledge on how to work together. Provide tools on high performance and insights on conflict and self-leadership. Coaching, reflection and group connections are critical to building a long-term high-performing team environment.

  4. Understand the self and understand the team = empathy and connection

    The starting point to high performance is a better understanding of yourself. An honest perception of your impact on others and an understanding your emotional triggers, improves your ability to work with others.

    Sharing your weaknesses and displaying vulnerability, permits better connection with your team. Showing empathy with others and building this connection is critical. There are various tools used to help people understand themselves and their team.

    The ability to build trust is the starting point. Bad behaviour is never effective in creating a high-performance culture and holding each other accountable for ineffective behaviour is critical. The goal is to create highly engaged, collaborative and connected teams.

  5. Measures, norms and behaviours

    By setting goals you can measure what gets done. Create clear focus and set targets for the team and the leaders of the organisation.

    Behaviours such as trust, collaboration and self-leadership will encourage courageous conversations and provide an environment for high performance. Ensure these attitudes are the norm.

Creating high performance is a courageous yet critical objective to ensure your organisation's success.

As a leader, set the tone. As a team member, be clear and courageous.

Stop shouting and start listening - high performance starts with you!

Leadership breakfast on high performance

Author Credits

Christina Foxwell, Managing Director, founded Ignite Purpose in 2012. Ignite Purpose is a performance improvement, consulting and coaching company that specialises in helping people and organisations translate challenges into opportunities and find solutions and strategies to help drive vision and growth. For more information, visit: www.ignitepurpose.com.au

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