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10 Strategies To Help Boost Team Performance

Monday 2 May, 2022
Trying to work in a high performing team environment has been incredibly challenging over the past few years as the ability to communicate and come together has been significantly reduced.

10 Strategies To Help Boost Team Performance

Teams exist to achieve what no other entity can. However, for teams to access their collective capacity and capability, team members must understand, own and accept accountability for the team’s collective goals. Why given teams are so powerful are high performing teams so rare? What prevents teams from operating at more than the sum of their parts? 

Two significant barriers to poor team performance are the lack of clarity and misalignment to the team’s goals and team members’ difficulty to secure others’ cooperation and commitment. Here are 10 strategies to help teams align and coordinate action and secure greater cooperation and commitment to get done what is most important. 

10 Strategies To Boost Team Performance 

  1. Start with the quality of working relationships 

    To improve the quality of results, first improve the quality of working relationships. A lack of trust or mutual respect, or anything that reduces the capacity to maintain working relationships, will cause wasted time, effort, and disruption.

  2. Begin with the end in mind

    Before making a request of another person, craft a vision of what success looks like. What does ‘done’ look like? What are the conditions of satisfactory completion? Once the end in mind is clear, share it with those with whom you intend to coordinate action. Everything is created twice: first in one’s own mind then in the understanding of others.

  3. Understand the distinction between making and managing a commitment

    To coordinate action and achieve something requires us to engage in the conversations relevant to making and managing commitments. There are four interdependent stages, each requiring a different conversation before we can effectively coordinate action:

    a. Conversations for Clarity is about making a clear and effective request of another person.
    b. Conversations for Commitment is about seeking a trusted commitment from the other person looked upon to deliver an outcome.
    c. Conversations for Accountability is about managing expectations and declaring satisfactory completeness.
    d. Conversations for Appreciation is about acknowledging the other person for meeting the conditions of satisfactory delivery.

  4. Stage 1: Master the art of making effective requests

    This is about being a ‘responsible customer’ by making it easy for the ‘performer’ to know what they are expected to do. Be clear about the scope of work, specify the required outcomes / deliverables, and provide clarity on expected timelines and the conditions of satisfaction. Most important, test the performer’s understanding of the requests and identify any concerns before committing. 

  5. Stage 2: Seek a clear and trusted commitment

    The Conversations for Commitment is where the performer takes responsibility to clarify it if they are making a definite commitment or not. 

    Where a request is combined with an acceptance, a commitment (i.e. promise) is made. This stage is fraught with a risk of misunderstanding and miscommunication. It is the performer’s responsibility to not give a ‘slippery commitment’ based on an assumed understanding or an unspoken concern with the request.

  6. Stage 3: Be jointly accountable for managing the commitment

    Respectfully hold people accountable for what they have explicitly committed to do but may not have fulfilled. The spirit of this conversation is not about blaming or getting back at others; it is about respecting the commitment. As the ‘requester’, take responsibility to inform the performer if the request is no longer important or if the time frame for completion has altered. Circumstances change; therefore, as the performer, you must inform the requester if the request cannot be fulfilled according to what was agreed.

  7. Stage 4: Evaluate the fulfilment of the commitment

    If the commitment has been fulfilled, acknowledge, recognise and express appreciation. The two most important words in the Conversations for Appreciation are ‘thank you’. If the commitment has not been satisfactorily met, re-engage the Conversations for Accountability. 

  8. Be mindful of untested expectations

    In the busyness to do things, be mindful of what commitments and promises one may have listened to that the other person never made. Be alert to one’s untested expectations.

  9. Ask, ‘How may I have contributed?’

    If we are honest with ourselves, we blame others for not delivering on what was requested of them. We may even go further and accuse them of having a lack of accountability. We seldom look to ourselves and ask, ‘How may I have contributed to the request not being met?’ There is always the possibility you could have made a sloppy request.

  10. Sloppy requests, slippery commitment

    A sloppy request will always get a slippery commitment. Just because you have a clear idea of what needs to get done does not mean the person you are asking shares the same level of understanding and clarity. Performance, productivity and relationships are closely bound up with how effectively we make and manage commitments. It is worth the effort.

Author Credits

Bernard Desmidt, author of Team Better Together, is a renowned leadership coach, facilitator, and trainer. As a team coach his expertise is in helping teams transition to become more collaborative, high performing teams so they access more of their collective capacity and capability to achieve the greatest things possible. Discover more at www.bernarddesmidt.com.

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