Essential Traits of High-Performing Teams
Anyone who has ever sat through a poorly-organized meeting knows the importance of teamwork in the workplace. Inefficient communication, misaligned goals, and low-level motivation all affect a team’s efficiency and performance, which, in turn, affects the rest of the organization. High-performing teams are the inverse of this scenario, seamlessly working together to exceed expectations and always delivering high-quality results.
Optimized team performance like this may seem like an unattainable fantasy to some business leaders, but in reality, any team can step up their collaboration skills and achieve significant business performance improvement. Achieve Institute performance experts help teams and companies apply the Achieve System™ to their top initiatives and challenges, offering guidance and support that far exceeds that of even the most elite workplace consulting teams. Keep reading for our breakdown of high-performance teamwork and its integration in your workplace using the Achieve System.
What Makes a Top-Performing Team?
First off, let’s establish what it means to be a high-performing team. Teams with maximized performance are more than just their results — they have the innovation and flexibility needed to achieve top results built into their foundation. Each team member’s unique strengths are amplified, from executive leaders to new employees, delivering on the full potential of your team’s diversity. These teams have a future-focused mindset, creating the culture and systems they need rather than getting stuck attempting to overcome the habitual barriers of the old system.
So how does a team reach this level of performance? Let’s take a look at the key features that take a team from good to great.
High-Performing Teams Build a Winning Identity
If you type “how to increase employee engagement” into your search engine, you might notice a recurring answer: make sure employees have a clear understanding of their purpose. Unlike most top workplace consulting firms, the Achieve System takes an expanded approach to this concept. While it is essential that employees understand their position’s role in the company, it is also essential for them to understand their purpose at work in a more personal sense.
Top-performing teams don’t just value what they’re doing at work; they value who they’re being. The average employee spends one-third of their life working, so workplace identity is an integral part of an individual’s sense of self. The best-performing teams craft a winning identity that they all believe in, driving their team’s collective awareness with intention and aligning them for success.
How a Winning Identity Boosts Team Performance
A shift in identity helped a regional sales department at a Fortune 50 B2B technology company reach a 33% increase in sales over three years. The organization began with eight fragmented sales groups spread throughout the region, each with a different methodology and no clear sense of identity binding them toward a goal. After their shift in identity, they advanced from the 18th sales ranking out of 21 regions to the highest-performing region in the country.
The Achieve System helped them shift not only their methodology but also their team identity into one with tenacity and resilience. According to the regional director, “[The leadership team] came away feeling inspired and capable of executing change after being given a set of tools to move the needle in several areas: not only to achieve our sales metrics but to transform our overall culture as well.”
Effective Collaboration Improves Team Performance
It may come as no surprise that effective teamwork is a cornerstone of top-performing teams, but what does “effective teamwork” really mean? In many cases, groups of individual high performers can mask the symptoms of poor teamwork by reaching their projected target levels and fulfilling their goals — for a time. But eventually, a situation will arise where teamwork is crucial, and the unit’s performance will suffer.
The best results don’t just come from high performers — they come from high-performing teams. The most effective teams understand each member’s strengths, weaknesses, and roles. They communicate clearly and consistently, with the freedom to share ideas or request clarification without hesitation. The team’s short-term and long-term goals unite each group member around a clear focus, and their shared identity and accountability motivate them to work toward each other’s success.
Effective teamwork allows a business unit to optimize all areas of its work and operate smoothly. Understanding each member’s responsibilities and skills allows the group to delegate tasks more efficiently, which leads to greater problem-solving and adaptability in the face of a challenge. Inviting ideas from all members creates space for innovation, and open communication leads to fewer mistakes from the team as a whole.
How Teamwork Sparks Business Performance Improvement
During a volatile period of change and internal crisis at a global technology company, prioritizing effective teamwork helped the sales department turn their team performance around to generate millions in additional revenue. As challenges and setbacks cropped up throughout the organization, siloed teams found themselves competing with each other and working on different approaches toward solving the same problems. The lack of collaboration and community in turn led to a rise in burnout, loss of focus, and plummeting performance.
The Achieve System helped the organization rebuild a united front, connecting team members to overarching goals and establishing improved communication systems. According to one team leader, “There is no doubt Achieve led to improved performance for our team. The result has opened doors for better internal communication and customer calls.”
High-Performing Teams Have a Future-Focused Mindset
Every industry (and every company) faces unexpected problems and challenges at some point. Some teams adapt to these challenges and thrive, but others find themselves bogged down by the effort to return to normal. Innovation and adaptability, paired with the courage to go big, are essential to successful problem-solving — and a future-focused mindset helps foster both traits in your team.
All too often, the overarching systems and processes teams follow can hold them back from progressing. Sometimes the system doesn’t grow with the size of the company or adapt to industry changes, and in some cases, it was never an optimal system from the start. Teams do their best to patch the holes and make minor adjustments, but when the entire framework is faulty, it’s time to look to the future and imagine a new path to success.
Future-focused thinking reaches beyond the scope of most workplace consulting advice and embraces the idea of creating what you need instead of fixing what you have. Start by visualizing end-to-end success across all aspects of your business, from performance and employee engagement to customer satisfaction and technological optimization. Explore every course of action to achieve that success, rather than limiting your thinking to achieving that success under your current framework and systems. When you remove those limitations, the possibilities might surprise you.
How Future-Focused Thinking Improves Team Performance
When the VP of Customer Care for a Fortune 50 technology company was tasked with cutting costs, improving the customer experience, and increasing employee satisfaction, she turned to the Achieve System to meet the challenge. Our performance experts guided her team to a future-focused mindset, which helped them create a new solution that then expanded across the company.
As a result, cost savings reached $500 million after two and a half years, the customer base grew by 20%, they had award-winning customer service, and employee satisfaction survey results showed continuous improvement. One team member says, “The Achieve Institute provided us a disciplined approach and a new way of thinking that gave us better results than we predicted — better than we could have imagined with our old way of thinking — and it led to true breakthrough thinking.”
How to Achieve High Performance
The defining elements of the best performing teams are deep-rooted, overarching mindset characteristics — but that doesn’t mean they can’t be taught. The Achieve System is an integrated program designed to trigger business performance improvement in individuals, teams, and enterprises. Through interactive workshops, group calls, one-on-one consulting sessions with our performance experts, and E-learning, our system goes beyond the typical workplace consulting experience to unleash peak team performance and deliver lasting, scalable results.
Visit our website for more information, and when you’re ready to transform your business’s departments from well-performing teams to high-performing teams, contact us here.