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Tim Millett
Published by Tim Millett
08 October 2013

No matter what the size of your organisation or its key business activities, effective functioning of teams is pivotal to your achievement of success. Business owners and managers are perennially challenged to discover and promote ways to enhance the performance of their teams and create opportunities for team members to work together in dynamic and creative ways.

While it is not always possible to apply a formula that will guarantee improved team performance, it is for the same reasons that businesses invest in sales training and customer service training that they do and should invest in training programs to strengthen teams and enable successful team building.

What can be done to maximise team performance?

1: Ensure that the Team Understands Its Purpose

Ultimately, teams within your organisation must have a clear understanding of why they exist and the vision and objectives that underpin their work. It is essential for teams to have this understanding as without such insight, it is impossible to manage the problems and difficulties that will arise while maintaining focus and pursuing a strategic direction.

Team building training that is tailored for the particular teams of your organisation is invaluable in supporting teams to appreciate their purpose and contribution to the organisation more broadly.

2: Ensure that Organisational Support and the Necessary Tools Are Available

Organisational support that is positive and unwavering will positively influence the degree of success experienced by any team. Teams require support from the organisation more broadly and need access to the resources that enable them to effectively carry out their activities. It is important to note that culturally support environment can be more effective at times than the support of tangible resources. And that consistency in demonstrating support through rules (organisational polices), recognition, rewards and resources is paramount.

Through high quality training (that may often be part of a broader performance training scheme involving whole or parts of organisations), it is possible to identify the extent to which quality support is offered, its impact and opportunities for more support or resources to be contributed.

3: Empower Teams

The most productive and the highest functioning teams feel empowered and assured that collectively, they have the solutions to issues and the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to successfully negotiate processes and procedures.

Teams that are empowered understand that they are in positions of influence and carry the motivation and responsibility that is essential for success. Effectively empowered teams are supported by management and others within their organisation in their quest for productivity – this provides yet another reason why a shared understanding, or holistic organisational purpose is so vital.

4: Clear Monitoring and Evaluation Processes

The success or otherwise of a team cannot be appropriately determined without the existence of a process to monitor and evaluate performance. Clear parameters for measuring performance must be established and negotiated and/or communicated with the team. Performance measures often fall short if they are not validated with team members, or if team members are unsure of the expectations set for them. It is critically important that, following or during any monitoring process, feedback is reported to the team. Feedback is a constructive use of performance measures. Without feedback, a team cannot fully appreciate what is working well and lacks direction for improvement. Performance measures should not be a punitive process but a progressive one.

Teams that function effectively are fundamental to the success enjoyed by organisations of varying types, sizes and purposes. As far as effective teams are concerned, 1+1 = 3 – companies that invest in team building training almost invariably reap the rewards of greater productivity and success as their teams become more effective in contributing to the achievement of business goals and objectives.

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