High-Performance Teams Are Purpose-Driven

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By Peter Tarhanidis, Ph.D., M.B.A.

Program teams should collaborate like a world-class orchestra.

This ideal state of team engagement and performance requires the presence of several key elements, including an engaged sponsor, a governance committee, a project manager and a status dashboard to communicate performance.

However, maximizing this level of performance is especially challenging when working with cross-functional groups, external stakeholders and shareholders. This increases the complexity of the human performance aspects of team management.

I recall one assignment I worked on that required the team to design and build a new centralized model to bring together three different operations. The team was given two additional challenges. The first challenge was to consolidate disparate teams into two geographic centers. They also had to reduce the overall timeline from 18 months to 10 months.

These challenges exacerbated how teams were not working well with their counterparts. They quickly became dysfunctional and lost their purpose. The project was crashing.

Stepping into this situation I decided to conduct a stakeholder analysis. I used this approach as an intervention method to understand the underlying themes. The analysis revealed the team:

  1. Lacked shared values: Members did not have a sense of purpose on the intent of the program.
  2. Were not being heard: Members felt they had no control over the program’s major activities or tasks.
  3. Lacked trust: Members felt they could not rely or confide in their fellow team members, sponsors or peers to accomplish tasks on the program.

After reflecting on the team’s feedback, I realized that most members wanted to find meaning in their work. It seemed no one was developing their sense of shared purpose and putting their strengths to work toward this program.

I decided I needed to re-invest them as members of the team. To get the team back to performing well, I:

  1. Built rapport with various team members
  2. Gained their trust by delivering on my commitments
  3. Integrated their perspectives into decision making
  4. Recruited new members to build up gaps in team capabilities
  5. Focused the conversation on our individual purposes and aligned them to a shared value

This approach strengthened the program and delivered on the challenges.  

The lesson learned is, do not simply apply methods and approaches in complex program delivery. Manage the team’s purpose and establish shared values as an important driver of overall delivery.

How do you manage that purpose and invest in high-performing teams?

Posted by Peter Tarhanidis on: April 18, 2018 08:10 PM | Permalink

Comments (14)

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Integrating team member perspectives into decision making - giving them the ownership and the authority of the task at hand - is often critical at the norming stage. Without this, team members rarely have the motivation to kick on to the performing stage.

The timing is also of importance - dysfunctional teams can burn the world down with that authority if they still haven't gotten around to trust one another, yet.

A very good approach, It is all about how to create, build, develop, integrate, engage the team and then deliver

Good article, and thanks for sharing

Very good article, thanks

Thanks for sharing..very interesting read

Thank you - Karan, Kevin, Anish, Eduin, and Rami for your insights and feedback!

Best Regards,

Peter

Enjoyed the article. Thanks for sharing.

Cheers!

David

Thank you for this interesting vision!

Thanks for your interesting vision. Good article!

Thank you David and William!

Thank you, good point.

thank you. think and behave as a team is crucial for success.

Good article. Thanks for sharing!

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