Mike Lynn

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Tools For Driving Team Performance

Tools For Driving Team Performance

If we stopped to think about it, traditional performance measures do not really reflect what organizations want “done”- those are just results. The real goal is sustainable behaviors that drive long-range value creation, solid and growing relationships with customers, and happy employees that look forward to going to work each day to make meaningful contributions. Instead of setting ambitiously high “results goals” and expecting employees to “hack it or pack it,” leaders in a company should explore using measures that better reflect the behaviors of those doing the work - the teams that are the engine of organizational success.

One firm that I work with has found a way to automate this kind of team performance measurement.

ThinkWise, Inc. has an automated survey mechanism that measures team performance against the seven dimensions of highly effective teams:

  • Alignment with each other and with group objectives
  • Communication within and outside of the team
  • Conflict management
  • Innovation, including exploring ways to improve processes, products, and outcomes
  • Process - including using meetings effectively and having consistent approaches
  • Team orientation and sense of camaraderie
  • Trust, which creates flexibility in the face of controversy and enables openness and sharing

The mechanism is very similar to the more informal team barometer concept described in my previous blog entry. It’s quick, automated, and centralized so the measures against these key performance indicators for each team can be monitored and managed on an ongoing, real-time basis. As teams and managers (and leaders!) get better accustomed to how performance is meaningfully measured against these seven dimensions, they have a vehicle for initiating discussions and driving continuous improvement. In some cases, managers and leaders can have these measures incorporated into their individual performance evaluations. This results in their being rewarded and encouraged when “caught doing something right,” and gaining valuable development feedback when the scores need improvement.

Talent development leaders that believe “that which is measured gets done” should be advocates for team behavioral performance measures. And they should elevate the discussion to a strategic perspective that aligns a company’s aspirations with its internal behaviors. Not only will they and their companies have the satisfaction of seeing the numbers improve meaningfully over time, but they’ll also see the authentic excitement and enthusiasm of individuals truly motivated to improve their performance against strategic objectives. What will be done well (or not so well) will be measured, and that which is measured will drive a true sense of what is important within the organization. It will be done!

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