What does it take to create a really high-performing team? What do you think? Is your team already high-performing? Could they do even better? If you aim to increase your team’s performance, read on.
Have you managed teams for a few years? Then you likely appreciate that there are things managers can do to make teams more high-performing. Things like the clarity of roles and team structure – we may call these aspects “the Science of Project Management”. In addition, each of us has unique skills and abilities to manage people – your personal EQ. Leaders use “the Art of Project Management” to fine-tune how they connect, coach, and encourage each team they manage.
What is a High Performing Team?
The highest-performing teams have found subtle ways of leveraging social connections — even within a remote or hybrid work setting — to engineer higher-performing teams.
A survey of 1,106 U.S.-based office workers found that teams rated highly effective and performing had five key things in common. How they:
- Manage Meetings
- Connect as a team
- Show respect and appreciation
- Feel free to be authentic
Harvard Business Review on what High-Performing Teams do Differently.
While these may be the outcome, the question remains – how do these teams become high performing?
Let’s look at one aspect of every Project that sets the stage for team communication and connectedness: The Project Launch.
How to Kick off your Project
Project Kick-offs set the tone for how the Project will run and how the team will relate, work and connect with one another. While the focus of Project Kick-off meetings is often a talk by the Project Leadership going over the key components of the Project. This is the moment to set the tone for your team. Get people excited to be there. Your goal should be to help this group of individuals to start creating the culture and dynamic that will grow into a team.
Don’t lose the opportunity to start each Project with an engaging and collaborative meeting. Also, any time a new staff member joins the Project, they need to be ‘onboarded’ to the team – so a Project Kick-off may be a one-time event, but the concepts will be used regularly to onboard new staff throughout the lifetime of a Project.
Key steps to Project Kick-off Events (and Onboarding new staff):
- Engage them with the Project Mission
- Share the Team Structure and Processes
- Show them how They Contribute
- Set each person up for Success
- Give them a chance to Shine
If you want to see a run-through of a Project Kick-off, check out this video. Or for more on Project Onboarding details and my downloadable guide.
Beyond Day 1 of the Project
The fact is, the Project Kick-off is just the first step in making your team high performing. My approach to high-performing teams is based on my work leading large multinational projects at companies like ABN AMRO and IBM, plus research done by Google and others.
I have identified specific actions encompassing organization, structure, culture, change management, and communications to ensure your team is given the best chance to reach its full potential. With this in mind, I have created a Workbook to enable Managers to build or be part of a High-Performing Team.
We will review a practical approach to creating high-performing teams at the IPMA-NL VAKdag Back to Basics interactive workshop on 15 November. Using my 20+ page Workbook, we will go through the key steps in small groups, allowing you to try out ideas and share your thoughts. Workshop attendees will be given a hard copy and a digital version. This will allow attendees to review the contents, test them out and modify the workbook to fit your Project and team.
I look forward to sharing my work over the past two years on this topic and learning from you, my colleagues in the field of Project Management.
Also, look at her video on How to select the right agile framework for your next project.
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Liz Hector is a Project Manager with a mission – to help others learn the art and science of Project Management. She does this using inspirational storytelling, practical tools, and group discussion.
Continuous learning and supporting the next generation of leaders is the focus of Liz’s Mentorship & Coaching and on her YouTube Channel and Blog: ProjectSkillsMentor.com.
Liz has been inspired by the work done in cooperation with companies like Apple, IBM, ABN AMRO, and Shell. Her 30+ years of international Project and Program Management experience is focused on Digital Strategy, App building, Tech/ERP implementation, and more.