Read the [[full|/static/files/MBI/Module%2015/The%20Discipline%20of%20Teams.pdf]] article. !Building Team Performance Although there is no guaranteed how-to recipe for building team performance, we observed a number of approaches shared by many successful teams * ''//Establish urgency demanding performance standards, and direction.//'' ** All team members need to believe the team has urgent and worthwhile purposes, and they want to know what the expectations are. Indeed, the more urgent and meaningful the rationale, the more likely it is that the team will live up to its performance potential, as was the case for a customer service team that was told that further growth for the entire company would be impossible without major improvements in that area. Teams work best in a compelling context. That is why companies with strong performance ethics usually form teams readily. * ''//Select members for skill and skill potential, not personality.//'' ** No team succeeds without all the skills needed to meet its purpose and performance goals Yet most teams figure out the skills they will need after they are formed. The wise manager will choose people for their existing skills and their potential to improve existing skills and Learn new ones. * ''//Pay particular attention to first meetings and actions.//'' ** Initial impressions always mean a great deal. When potential teams first gather, everyone monitors the signals given by others to confirm, suspend,or dispel assumptions and concerns. They pay particular attention to those in authority the team leader and any executives who set up, oversee, or otherwise influence the team. And, as always, what such leaders do is more important than what they say If a senior executive leaves the team kickoff to take a phone call ten minutes after the session has begun and he never returns, people get the message. * ''//Set some clear rules of behavior//'' ** All effective teams develop rules of conduct at the outset to help them achieve their purpose and performance goals. The most critical initial rules pertain to attendance (for example,"no interruptions to take phone calls"), discussion ("no sacred cows"), confidentiality ('the only things to leave this room are what we agree on"), analytic approach ("facts are friend|y"), end-product orientation ("everyone gets assignments and does them”), constructive confrontation ("no linger pointing"), and, often the most important, contributions (“every-one does real work'). * ''//Set and seize upon a few Immediate performance-oriented tasks and goals.//'' ** Most effective teams trace their advancement to key performance oriented events. Such events can be set in motion by immediately establishing a few challenging goals that can be reached early on. There is no such thing as a real team without performance results, so the sooner such results occur, the sooner the team congeals. * ''//Challenge the group regularly with fresh facts and information.//'' ** New information causes a team to redefine and enrich its understanding of the performance challenge, thereby helping the team shape a common purpose, set clearer goals, and improve its common approach. A plant quality improvement team knew the cost of poor quality was high, but it wasn't until they researched the different types of defects and put a price tag on each one that they knew where to go next. Conversely, teams err when they assume that all the information needed exists in the collective experience and knowledge of their members. * ''//Spend lots of time together.//'' ** Common sense tells us that team members must spend a lot of time together, scheduled and unscheduled,especially in the beginning. Indeed, creative insights as well as personal bonding require impromptu and casual interactions just as much as analyzing spreadsheets and interviewing customers. Busy executives and managers too often intentionally minimize the time they spend together. The successful teams we've observed all gave themselves the time to learn to be a team. This time need not always be spent together physically; electronic, fax, and phone time can also count as time spent together * ''//Exploit the power of positive feedback, recognition, and reward.//'' ** Positive reinforcement works as well in a team context as elsewhere. Giving out “gold stars' helps shape new behaviors critical to team performance. If people in the group, for example, are alert to a shy person's initial efforts to speak up and contribute, they can give the honest positive reinforcement that encourages continued contributions. There are many ways to recognize and reward team performance beyond direct compensation, from having a senior executive speak directly to the team about the urgency of its mission to using awards to recognize contributions. Ultimately, however, the satisfaction shared by a team in its own performance becomes the most cherished reward.