Implementing organizational changes and developing leaders to sustain them

Taugher Change Catalyst Consulting

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goals.”

Henry Ford

Building High Performance Executive Teams

C. David Taugher, Ph.D.

Saying you are a great team is one thing, but having your customers, associates and shareholders say being a great team is another. Demonstrating high performance work team behavior is what matters. Taugher Change Catalyst Consulting provides your executive team a process to build a high performance executive work team using a proven road map, with tools, templates, and interactive exercises to apply along the way.

Great teams have a common purpose, with goals and roles aligned to a single, central focus. You do not win a World Series having 25 different players choose what innings they wish to play and at what position. You do not win a Super bowl having 56 players choose their preferred positions and call their own plays. Driving individual efforts to achieve team alignment and integration around a common mission is hard work, and very few sports teams are consistently successful at executing it successfully, despite having top-notch players.

Great teams are able to reach past “good” results and get to “great” results. They “hit the number” consistently, and share a mutual satisfaction doing it. We look to high performance work team members as role models deserving emulation. Just think of the impact executives demonstrating high performance work team behavior have on lower level “up and coming” managers!

Moving from “good” to “great” takes discipline and commitment. It also takes a plan and persistence. Below is a model we use to build and sustain a high performance work team. There are four phases in the process, each phase color coded to reflect differences in deliverables for each phase. We use the model to develop teams, i.e., to pursue high performance results, as well as to identify issues which complicate efforts, or inhibit high performance team results.

Team Building Pyramid

How the process works:

  1. Start at the top of the model by first defining team goals. This work often involves developing a strategic plan (multi-year plan having an external focus), and then articulating an operating plan (one year plan having an internal focus) to execute strategic initiatives to deliver results.
  2. Once you clearly define what to accomplish (i.e., the Goals), the next step is to identify and articulate who will do what to execute that plan. Clear roles and responsibilities are developed to identify who is doing what, with whom, and how work relationships are aligned.

    Once roles are determined and individuals are assigned to each role, how they interact with each other is established. Specifically, this means accountabilities are assigned, responsibilities are determined, consulting/counseling relationships established, and information channels are determined. People perform their best work when they understand what is expected of them, and with whom they are working. Setting up the “ground rules” from the outset is a critical path to high performance team behavior.
  3. The next step is to apply management processes to get quality work done productively, in a timely manner. Using management processes promotes teamwork and collaboration through cooperation and coordination. Core management processes that high performance teams practice with great regimen include:
    • How meetings are managed
    • How problems are solved
    • How performance feedback is offered and received
    • How conflicts are resolved
    • How decisions are communicated
  4. Finally, time and focus are dedicated to building meaningful interpersonal relationships, a critical ingredient for any team to consider itself a high performance work team. Having effective interpersonal relationships nurtures understanding, trust, and acceptance of others for who they are and what is important to them. Managers having meaningful interpersonal relationships treat others, as they would like to be treated. We listen, demonstrate fairness, and act in the best interests of the team and its members. Honesty and integrity are cornerstones of these relationships.

This development process is measured along the way, using a combination of “process” and “result” measures. Tracking performance against the assigned accountabilities and responsibilities is critical, and often either taken for granted or overlooked. As consultants of organizational change, we know better than to take such progress for granted.