What sets high performing teams apart from ordinary teams? Ken Blanchard in his book Leading at a Higher Level, states that “building highly effective teams begins with a picture of what you are aiming for – a target.” He identifies seven key characteristics of all high performing teams, represented by the acronym PERFORM.
Purpose and values. A high performing team shares a strong sense of purpose and a common set of values. It is from purpose and values that mutually agreed-on goals are derived, roles are defined, and strategies are developed. Purpose and values are the glue that holds the team together and forms the foundation of a high performing team.
Empowerment. Members of a high performing team are confident in the team’s ability to overcome obstacles. Information is readily available, and people have the skills they need or at least know where to get them. They have authority to act and make decisions and choices with clear boundaries.
Relationships and communication. A high performing team is committed to open communication. People feel they can take risks and share their thoughts, opinions, and feelings without fear. Listening is considered as important as speaking. Differences are truly valued. Through honest, caring feedback, people are aware of their strengths and weaknesses and their impact on others, and they act in ways that build trust and acceptance.
Flexibility. High performing team members are interdependent and realize that all are responsibility for team performance, development, and leadership. Members recognize the inevitability of change and adapt to changing conditions.
Optimal productivity. A high performing team is committed to producing significant results. There is a commitment to high standards and quality. They hold each other accountable and strive for continual improvement. Everyone carries his or her weight, and everyone takes pride in team accomplishment.
Recognition and appreciation. A high performing team experiences continual positive feedback and recognition. Recognition and appreciation are powerful ways to motivate and enhance performance. Recognition reinforces behavior, builds esteem, and enhances a feeling of value and accomplishment.
Morale. Moral is the result of all of the above. Members are enthusiastic about their work; they are proud of their results and feel pride in belonging to the team. There is a strong team spirit and a sense of unity.