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Posted: 8th March 2020
I’ve read the 2019 EY article on high performing teams. Wondering whether you have any other thinking or research that can help us have the right conversations with our leadership and Board – to help shift thinking about what high performance is?
Thanks for your question – I’m not entirely sure if you’re referring to how to try and measure high performance or what would contribute to it so I’ve tried to address both.
Measuring team performance
We’ve been trying to measure performance for so long now – usually through a rating scale of some description or against a set of defined competencies. The trouble with all of these measurements is that they are entirely dependent on an individual (usually the line manager) making a judgement about the employee – and those judgements are subject to ‘rater bias’. Rather than elaborate here, I would recommend watching Marcus Buckingham’s video on this topic https://www.marcusbuckingham.com/rwtb/data-fluency-series-how-reliable-data/ as it gives the best analysis as to why these approaches fail to give an accurate assessment.
Alternatives are as follows:
1. Focus on outputs – much of our measurements focus on what we want people to do or how to do it rather than the impact we want them to have.
2. Don’t worry about trying to measure it – but get teams discussing their performance regularly to understand how they can improve – maybe check out our Box of meetings where we suggest some ideas for team objective setting and team performance reviews https://disruptive-leaders.com/toolkit-a-box-of-meetings/
Creating high performing teams
1. Think about team diversity and dynamics – here’s a useful article from McKinsey that might help https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/high-performing-teams-a-timeless-leadership-topic
2. The classic Lencioni ‘5 dysfunctions’ might also be good if you’re not familar with it – here’s a helpful summary https://www.talentsquare.com/blog/book-summary-the-five-dysfunctions-of-a-team/
3. Think about how to create an environment where team performance can flourish – this video might be useful to help set a different agenda for leadership discussions https://disruptive-leaders.com/video-great-hr-board-reports/
Hope this helps – just let us know if there was anything more specific you were after?
We are moving away from a traditional performance approach towards frequent conversations within mimimum parameters. Our focus is still on individual performance. What research can you point me towards that has demonstrates that focus on team performance is more effective for organisations than focus on individual performance?
Well done on moving away from traditional performance management!
The new approach has an individual and a team performance element, but the emphasis on the purpose/outcome of each is very different from traditional performance management, i.e.:
1) Team Performance – setting, reviewing and discussing team goals and objectives on a regular basis (our Box of Meetings gives an example of what this looks like)
2) Individual performance – frequent conversations (Box of Conversations here) that you’re already moving to, which are more developmental in nature (coaching, discussing goals, feedback, etc.) obviously with no ratings!
But if you need to convince your organisation that team performance is effective, here are some resources that might help:
I still love the example from what Microsoft called it’s lost decade to demonstrate how what you value will dictate your culture – this is why they moved away from stack ranking and replaced with an emphasis on teamwork and employee growth
https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/focus/human-capital-trends/2019/team-based-organization.html Deloitte stats on team performance
https://rework.withgoogle.com/print/guides/5721312655835136/ – google research on why Teams matter
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYQEGfZ687g Mercer – Lewis Garrad and Peta Latimer Explore the Differences between Team Performance and Individual Performance
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrkrvAUbU9Y Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don’t: Traditional rewards aren’t always as effective as we think.
Keep us posted on how you get on as we love case studies we can share with our members!
Hi Karen, thanks for the links to the research that’s useful. I cant get the pdfs to load, would you be able to email them? firstname.lastname@example.org?
Hi Caroline, do you mean our Box of Meetings, Box of Conversation pdf?
We’ve moved away completely from traditional performance management and have implemented team Objectives and Key Results. These are agile, reviewed and reset frequently. Each key result is RACI’d, so that each accountable drives the delivery of the key result. We track them fortnightly in team meetings by reviewing 4 points – progress, confidence (that we will achieve), impediments and initiatives (our path to green). They have landed really well, link directly to our strategy so every one can see how their job relates to our strategy regardless of level. It has driven accountability and led to a feeling of a flatter structure. We have no end of year reviews and no ratings.
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