Building High Performance Teams in Difficult Times

15 December 2020
4 minute
Building High Performance Teams in Difficult Times

When businesses look to improve performance, they turn to recruiting the best in their fields and building teams that can have a positive impact for general business success. This year however, businesses have had to adapt to different challenges and recruitment has been a low priority for many. 

From remote working to demand for services being slashed across the country, 2020 has been a challenging year for businesses in the UK. Developing a high performing team is a strategy that can overturn the negative year we’ve seen and equally yield long term results. 

It may not be possible to recruit new team members at this time, but high performance can come from within your current team by deploying some key strategies and a targeted approach. We’re going to take a look at how to do this for your business in 2021.

What does a high performing team look like? 

High performing teams have some key commonalities. To develop your team these are some of the things that make high performing teams stand out; 

  • Everyone is working towards a common goal vs disjointed goals and targets.
  • Leadership of the team may shift from time to time to help push the business over the line vs stagnant leadership.
  • Criticism is constructive and disagreements are considered healthy vs unfounded criticism and a sense of unhealthy workplace behaviour.
  • Teamwork is considered essential to business success vs teamwork is disjointed and individuals are siloed. 
  • Better results and higher quality work is being produced vs work that fails to secure additional work.
  • Teams are built up of multiple skills that help deliver better results vs teams being one dimensional and unable to switch up skills.

Why employers will need high performing teams in 2021

2020 has seen businesses rise to the many challenges faced across the UK and the world. With team members having to work remotely - and - managers having to adapt to better engaging their staff to services being slashed and financial losses recorded. 

We’ve seen over the last year established businesses losing out all together. It paints a bleak picture but it also helps us to identify what we can do in 2021 and why we need high performing teams in our organisations.  

To yield better results, to get clients on board, to help reduce staff turnover, to help achieve new goals and recuperate any financial loss, a high performing team is better positioned to work towards these goals and implement the necessary changes to make a success of 2021.  

We may not know what to expect with 2021 and with the added threats of Brexit and any other global trade issues that we may not foresee but, high performance teams can correct quickly and adapt to new challenges. 

Practical ways to build high performance teams

A risk that employers face in building a high performance team is that it can leave staff members feeling alienated or out of the whole process. Any changing circumstances within a business set up needs to be carried out efficiently and effectively. 

Being able to create the necessary conditions to build such teams is essential. Because 2020 has been a difficult year there will be a sense that any changes may also be in haste. Employees are suffering with the battlescars of 2020, so having their input is essential for disruption that is targeted to get teams working together. 

Team composition and dynamics

It could be that you structure your teams differently. Recruiting from within the organisation to promote someone to a management position or bringing in members from other teams to build the required performance. Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the team, how these relate to goals set out and get buy-in from those invested to make the change as smooth as possible.   

Office based employees working with remote employees

With offices still being unable to re-open to full capacity, or workers feeling at unease being able to go back to the office during a pandemic, it’s essential that you can get office based employees and remote workers together. Regular meetings, interactions and getting buy in from everyone to complete the goals set out is key to producing high performance teams. 

Clear vision for teams

Developing a clear vision is essential to high performing teams. To do this, one tactic may be the introduction of OKRs. Objectives & Key Results, OKRs stand out for being frequently set, tracked, and re-evaluated – this happens quarterly (most of the time).

It allows teams to quickly focus on what the goal is and how they’re going to achieve it. Companies such as IBM, Google and Disney use this to bring thousands of employees together to achieve the same goal. 

Promoting feedback and appraisals

Naturally, one way to get a high performing team is to tell them how well (or what they could be doing) they are doing. Feedback needs to be a 360 degree approach, taking into consideration the business goals, the individuals and what can be done to support the team member to help achieve what is required. 

2020 has seen us all having to make adjustments. With business losses and tougher conditions to operate than ever before, getting your team to work better is a goal for all parties involved. Better motivation, better results and recouping losses will be a goal many businesses face. Building a high performance team can address those issues and see you thrive in years to come. 

Build high performance teams with Thomas

Our psychometric assessments and solutions allow you to gain a deeper understanding of how your team behaves, which will help create an environment of understanding and enable effective team working skills that satisfy the preferences of all team members.

For example, the 360 feedback is essential in helping to identify strengths and areas for development and understanding how behaviour is perceived across the team.

Speak to one of our team to find out more about how our assessments and tools can can help you build high performance teams in difficult times.

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