A 5D Framework to Build High-Performing TeamsBack to blog
Building high-performing teams is a fine balancing act between multiple players: a company’s vision, the teams, the employees, the culture, and the business.
These five players work together in synergy to create an ecosystem where they can play their best A-game.
Having observed high-performing teams across both SMEs and Fortune 500 companies across different continents, these are the common denominators they all share:
A company’s vision is its North Star. It indicates the direction, guides decision-making, and acts as a unified compass for all.
It’s imperative to make the vision clear for all stakeholders and bring it to life by reinforcing it across all the touchpoints and embedding it in the daily language. All employees and stakeholders should be aligned on the vision and articulate it in their own words.
The vision should be reflected in the individual and collective behaviors, how the business is conducted, decisions are made, and how conflicts are managed.
A holistic people strategy
Investing in people creates a competitive advantage: it leads to higher employee engagement and satisfaction, equitable opportunities for personal and professional development, and ultimately higher performance, both individually and collectively.
However, investing in talent cannot be an afterthought or a remedy to fix an issue like attrition or low employee engagement. People are a business’s most precious asset and must be nurtured, developed, and looked after.
The people strategy must live within the business strategy and not as a separate entity. When developing the business plan, talent must be a core pillar, not an appendix.
Creating a culture of open communication and feedback leads to continuous improvement and innovation. When constructive feedback is effectively given, received, and acted upon, the kaizen strategy effect takes place, pushing the bar of excellence higher.
To be effective, feedback must become a daily practice that touches every conversation, meeting, and process and is inclusive of all viewpoints, making it inclusive and equitable.
Organizations that embrace the power of feedback as a 360 tool see benefits such as higher employee engagement, more inclusion, and ultimately higher performance.
Measuring the right KPIs ensures the vision is translated into a reality. Creating and implementing a system that measures success leads to more transparency, alignment across stakeholders, and consistency between the company’s vision and its execution.
The metrics system must be transparent and accessible so that all stakeholders can have visibility to it. All employees must be able to understand and explain what success looks like at individual, team, and company levels.
The success metrics must include business KPIs and people KPIs such as engagement, likelihood to recommend the company as an employer, satisfaction, and DEI-related metrics such as the feelings of being included, respected, valued, and so on.
Last, the metrics cannot focus on lagging indicators (i.e., results such as sales or year-on-year growth), but they must also consider leading indicators (e.g., increase in customer satisfaction through NPS, higher employee engagement), as those are the best predictors of long-term success.
A positive and encouraging environment is a catalyst for engagement and performance.
Individuals perform at their best when heard, valued, and celebrated. It increases their sense of well-being, leading to more teamwork and collaboration.
Recognition must be built in as part of the way of working and collaborating. It can happen through formal ceremonies and awards but also informally through daily moments of celebration during huddles, touch bases, and casual interactions.
Apple always starts their daily huddles in their retail stores by celebrating employees, and they do a big group clap before opening their stores to the public. That’s how they set themselves up for success every single day.
Last, impactful celebration focuses on behaviors and connects them back to the vision, closing the loop.
Developing high-performing teams is not the result of one action but the combination of a clear vision shared across all stakeholders, a holistic people strategy, a culture of feedback and celebration, and an effective system that measures what success looks like.
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