By Mark Samuel
Organizations are only as successful as the teams who move them to success.
Below are seven things that high-functioning teams do that low-functioning teams are missing.
- High-functioning teams have a clear picture of success that emphasizes their own do-differently behaviors.
The picture of success is a co-created document between everyone on the team that describes how the team would be operating at a higher level to achieve breakthrough results. This is not a lofty vision statement, but a specific and descriptive account of how the team would ideally be working together and what they would be achieving based on their desired outcomes.
- High-functioning teams create and carry out agreed-upon team habits of collective execution.
The way teams work together is what determines their effectiveness. Think of any professional sports team or music group: While it’s important that each player or musician hones their skill, it’s not enough to just practice individually. It’s the collective habits of the team or group that really make the team or group excel. And the same goes for business teams.
- High-functioning teams are accountable for producing outcomes, not just performing tasks.
People often mistake accountability as a commitment to agreed-upon tasks. This can easily turn a team into an activity-based team instead of a results-producing team. When tasks are the priority, burnout is the result because the team misses opportunities to streamline operations for efficiency and effectiveness. High-functioning teams know that plans and tasks are only in service to outcomes, so making progress and iterating as you go is all in service to achieving desired outcomes.
- High-functioning teams take mutual ownership for outcomes and problem-solve together.
Mutual ownership means that everyone has a stake in ensuring that each team member is successful in carrying out their responsibilities. Everyone on the team is accountable for achieving desired outcomes, and this is accomplished by every team member proactively surfacing potential risks or challenges. Together as a team, everyone then develops solutions while understanding the impact of those solutions on all team members as they implement.
- High-functioning teams are flexible and open to change.
High-functioning teams acknowledge, expect and anticipate change. They are constantly challenging the status quo. While all teams can become stuck in their ways at times, high-functioning teams catch themselves as early as possible and open themselves up to new possibilities. They are flexible enough to always look for better ways to serve their customers, remove wasted efforts and improve their own operational excellence.
- High-functioning teams know they don’t know everything.
While a leader might have good ideas, their knowledge about the implementation is limited, causing breakdowns, dramatically longer timelines, wasted resources and increased expenses during implementation. Whenever we think we know everything, we become stuck in our ways, inflexible to new ideas and unable to make prudent business decisions. High-functioning teams know they don’t know everything. They are learning-oriented and prepared to be proven wrong.