Designing Higher Team Performance

Scientists say team design has a much higher impact on measurable team performance than day-to-day coaching, and that team structure has a greater impact on daily behaviors than personality. You can harness the power of team structure by forging agreements among team members on how they will work together and do their work. Depending on your team’s challenges you will get higher and better output, fewer conflicts, happier customers, and/or lower costs, among other benefits. Instead of a day of “teambuilding” games that cannot have long-term impacts, you and your teammates get permanent changes that ease your working lives.

Coach Jim’s SuddenTeams™ Program gives your group the characteristics of a high-performance team according to science, in months instead of the years it usually takes. Unlike others who claim to be team builders but really sell entertainment, he creates measurable positive changes in the way your group behaves. That’s because the program is based on findings from decades of small group research. Elements include:

  • Purpose or Mission Statement—A statement of purpose that excites interest while supporting the company’s mission.
  • SMART Goals—Three to five measurable goals that quantify progress toward the mission within a specific time frame.
  • Team Rules—Rules created by the team to reduce workplace behaviors that hurt team performance and job satisfaction.
  • Team Procedures—Procedures for handling the team’s administrative tasks.
  • Process Documentation—Written descriptions and/or diagrams of how the team performs the tasks that take up most of its time, created by the team to aid process improvement and team learning. (Some or most of these may be replaced by referral to standardized methods like Full Stack Scrum™, but Jim prefers helping the team create your own approach to Agile.)
  • Role Definitions—Clear descriptions of each member’s roles in everyday work and team administration.
  • Mission Plan—A formal plan for meeting the team’s goals.
  • Teamwork Skills—Best practices for group decision-making, communication, conflict resolution, and more.
  • Incentives—Rewards for achieving team goals (not necessarily money).
  • Visibility—A method to ensure upper managers and other stakeholders become aware of the team’s accomplishments.
  • Communications—A communications plan to help team members and stakeholders get the information they need before they need it.
  • Growth—A continuous improvement plan to add value year after year.

The program works in any group of four or more, because small-group dynamics are the same regardless of the function or industry. Of course, the content is customized for your team’s level in the company, tasks, educational background, and challenges. When you’re ready to stop playing games and get serious about improving your team’s communication, collaboration, and commitment, contact Coach Jim.


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