You Want Greater Performance? Develop a Better Team

A lot of factors can negatively influence workforce performance, and many people tend to lean toward quick fixes—which can lead to bigger issues—rather than sustainable solutions.

How to build a results-driven, high-performing team?

It takes good communication, collaboration, synchronization, and trust, according to Kristi Weierbach, Ph.D., SPHR, SHRM-SCP, director of Workforce Advisory Services at Stambaugh Ness in York, Penn.

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TEAM CHECKLIST

“You may not always like each other, and that’s OK,” she says. But you do have to think in these terms: ‘Hey, we’re on the same team and we’re moving toward the same goal.” Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Solicit opinions. Ask everybody on the team—individually—about the one thing they would change in the organization if they could. Then ask follow-up questions. You’ll soon start to see themes and patterns bubble up.
  2. Check your C-Suite. Leaders need to align with what you want to accomplish when it comes to driving culture and strategic initiatives. They can’t continue to say, “Well, this is the way we’ve always done it.” Says Weierbach: “You’ll never get to the places you want to go if that’s the mindset.”
  3. Involve employees. So many organizations have good intentions with their strategic initiatives, but they miss the mark on more than half of them because the firm does not encourage everyone to participate. Make sure every employee feels connected.
  4. Plan every year. Strategic plans won’t be optimal unless they’re done annually, notes Weierbach. Technology simply changes too fast, “and it’s only going to exponentially continue to grow at a faster rate.”
  5. Measure progress weekly. Accelerate performance by giving employees guidance and coaching to navigate through issues and ensure that personal, professional, and strategic goals align. Focus on strengths and leverage them toward these goals.
  6. Define performance. What does a successful firm look like? What are the behaviors and skill levels needed? Whose responsibility will it be to drive initiatives forward?
  7. Evaluate talent. If you have a lot of baby boomers who will be retiring soon, make sure you also have the right people absorbing their knowledge and who are interested in learning new skills. As you plan, be certain new hires are the right fit from a culture perspective.
  8. Have difficult conversations. You need courage to tell someone their performance isn’t meeting the mark, or to deal with a narcissistic leader who doesn’t want to adapt. Go in with an inquisitive, rather than accusatory, approach. “If you avoid these difficult conversations,” says Weierbach, “you’ll never get to the next level with performance.”
  9. Need assistance? Sometimes someone from outside the organization can help drive a firm forward in a way that seems impossible from the inside. Don’t be afraid to seek out a partner to help facilitate progress.