Therefore and High Performing Teams
By Tom O'Reilly / March 2017Insights
There are special teachers and individuals we meet during life’s journey who give us a special perspective and manage to stick with us our entire lives. For me, this teacher was Ern Baxter, my College professor teacher.
While reading, whenever we came across the word “therefore” followed by a description or instructions for next steps, he would encourage us to go back and read the paragraph before to understand what therefore was “there for.”
As business leaders, we sometimes are faced with tasks that seems beyond our ability to do with the time given. We often ask our team members to do things without giving them the necessary background to understand the strategy or the reason behind our seemingly impossible request. In order to maintain high performing teams, it’s very important that they understand the reason why you are asking them to do something. Your teams need to know what the “therefore” is there for.
Definition of High Performing Teams
High performing teams are cohesive organizations – even virtual groups – that are highly focused on their goals and achieving superior business results. You know what it’s like to be part of these teams because you felt like you belonged, were supported and encouraged. Even if you made a mistake, you were given permission to learn, grow, move onward and upward.
Being part of these teams makes work fun and together you feel like you can accomplish the most challenging goals.
As a leader, you can see immediately the value of developing and investing in high performing teams to ensure the best talent are retained and support company objectives.
Building High Performing Teams
Here are tips for leaders to build high performing teams based on insights from Joe Folkman, the creator of the 360-degree feedback assessments.
- Team Leaders Inspire Action
Leaders must cast a vision and a mission that teams want to join and follow. Some leaders use the label, “big hairy audacious goals,” because the objectives require major change, growth and are usually disruptive. Teams are inspired when goals have a positive impact beyond themselves.
- Team Leaders Identify Common Ground
Conflicts are inevitable within groups and team leaders must help resolve disagreements and differences quickly. To keep teams on track, leaders should turn the focus on common ground and cooperation to achieve the agreed upon goals. They must emphasize trust, open communications and collaborative environments within their teams.
- Team Leaders Set Expectations for Growth
By setting high expectation, leaders motivate their teams to learn and grow to meet the objectives. High performing teams are driven to excel and accomplish the extraordinary. By understanding the collective vision and helping people realize that through the team they can accomplish more than what they thought of because of the strength of the team. Setting stretch goals – for individuals and the team – generates excitement, engagement and builds pride. Most importantly, leaders must recognize the individuals and the team when they reach their goals and achieve milestones.
- Team Leaders Communicate and Cast the Vision Repeatedly
Regular communications are a must to keep high performing teams motivated and focused on the vision, mission and business goals. In addition to providing frequent feedback and metrics to stay on track, leaders must communicate any changes and challenges. Setbacks and roadblocks are normal in a dynamic business environment. When given information in a timely manner, high performing teams will work together to course-correct and stay on track.
- Team Leaders Establish Trust
Trust is the foundation of all relationships and is critical for effective leaders. Consistent communications is a major component for establishing and maintaining trust. Other areas for teams to gain trust in their leaders and each other is to demonstrate knowledge and skills. By working together and solving problems as a group, teams create comraderies and friendships. Leaders must also reward the correct team-building behaviors of doing what you say you will do, having each other’s back and staying focused on goals.
Roles & Responsibilities
Another aspect of building high performing teams is to ensure team members know their roles and responsibilities. This may require some training and coaching when setting stretch goals for team members. Leaders should also ensure the team has adequate resources – including equipment, software and people – to accomplish their goals.
Measure of Success
High performing teams are motivated by achievement and need to know what’s being measured and why. Key Performance Indicators, once established, should be shared regularly to allow accountability, actions and adjustments to strategies and tactics.
We all see the value of high performing teams. They are inspired to achieve goals and business objectives. The key to keeping teams motivated is to let them know what the “therefore” is there for so they are part of the solution.
I invite you to get to know the high performing teams at Aptaris! See how we set the standard of support for our clients with marketing and promotions programs that engage their customers and increase loyalty. Please contact us to learn more.
Contributed by Tom O’Reilly – President and CEO, Aptaris
Tom has a deep understanding of the retail business from both the store and vendor perspectives. He brings decades of hands-on experience in advertising and promotions including new media innovations. As an entrepreneur, he has transformed each organization he has worked with. Tom is a forward-thinking leader with a history of driving innovation, growth and profitability. As an avid reader, Tom is always enthusiastically sharing cutting-edge ideas with clients and colleagues.