Welcome to the final segment of this 3 part series: “The Essence of a High Performing Team”
What is the one thing all leaders want but most don’t have? …. A consistently high performing team!
How can you expect to have a high performing team if you are not positively affecting day to day behavior? Most leaders focus on outcomes and results. While this is not bad, it fails to consider that outcomes and results are only achieved when proper behaviors are exhibited. Leaders need to focus on behaviors early in the process to achieve results later. Over time, it is the small decisions your team makes, and the behaviors they exhibit, that determine your success.
Behavior modification begins with your teams’ core values. Every team should have written and visible values that describe who you are. At Systems Personnel our values are: Respect, Integrity, Selflessness, Excellence, and Relationships (RISER). Effective leaders hire, fire, reward, and promote around their values. When team members exhibit behaviors aligned with your values, they are recognized. When team members exhibit behaviors that are not aligned with your values, they are disciplined.
Team accountability is the key to avoiding discipline. The use of public declarations and written words are particularly effective in building team accountability. It has been scientifically proven that individuals who declare their intentions, in public, have a higher rate of compliance. Additionally, when individuals write a declaration down they further increase compliance. These two simple acts: stating what you will or won’t do in front of your team; and writing that intent down, increases the likelihood they do what they say. You want them thinking, “I can’t look bad in front of the team and I can’t let the team down.”
To obtain results, leaders must work with each team member to identify key behaviors that will lead to the outcomes you all desire. Each behavior must be quantified with a measurement that proves they have displayed a behavior. Those behaviors and measurements are made visible to the rest of the team. At SPI we use flat screens to display an Excel based dashboard containing behaviors each team member has agreed to exhibiting on a weekly basis. There are usually 5 to 8 items on each person’s dashboard. When they display positive behavior and meet their goals the dashboard is green. If they miss a behavior goal slightly, or for just one week, the dashboard turns yellow. If they miss it again it turns red.
Every week, in front of the rest of the team, everyone discusses the previous week’s dashboard results. Positive behaviors resulting in a green dashboard is recognized in front of the team. If there are yellows or reds on their dashboard, the team member declares what they are going to do differently and write those declarations out on a white board for the entire team to see. In this way, we can see early indicators to know if we are on track to achieve our results.
Leaders should constantly be on the look-out for displays of core value behaviors. Be quick to recognize those behaviors and how they align with your values. If an individual exhibits a behavior blatantly misaligned with or against the team’s core values, a private one-on-one session with his leader is scheduled. In that session the individual writes on a piece of paper: what negative behavior was exhibited and why; the impact that behavior has on him, his team, and the company; a specific commitment to correct that behavior (preferably measurable); and what will happen should the blatant negative behavior be exhibited again. This documented incident goes into the employee’s file.
In many ways, behaviors are easier to achieve than results. Your associates quickly realize they control their behavior and those behaviors determine the team’s success. In the end, we will achieve the results we want should we properly identify the behaviors that determine the success and hold one another accountable to exhibiting those behaviors on a daily or weekly basis.