30 Signs You’re Working In A High Performing Team

30 Signs You’re Working In A High Performing Team
Summary: What makes a high performing team? Or, if you’re forming a team, what qualities do you want in it?

Are You Working In A Highly Performing Team?

Here we suggest 30 characteristics that a truly great team should possess to perform at a high level.

1. Healthy Arguments

Ray Dalio[1] makes the business case for using radical transparency and algorithmic decision-making to create an idea meritocracy where people can speak up and say what they really think—even calling out the boss is fair game.

2. Challenged Teams

In healthy organizations, and with strong teams, it's crucial to experience struggle. The challenges faced and overcome help teams to grow.

3. Empowering Leadership

Leadership[2] comes down to creating a set of ideals within an organization, putting the values and goals in place with the assistance of trusted advisors, and then inspiring them to go achieve the results.

4. Dreamers

You want to be around people that think the impossible is achievable. People who believe that they can change the world are the ones who actually do it.

5. Growth Mindset

A focus on continuous improvement is crucial in teams. An awareness of pursuing continual growth is what teams need to progress.

6. Infrequent Production Issues

Little to no interruptions in production shows the importance of proper planning and execution.

7. Departmental Collaboration

Team members should never shy away from collaborating despite being in different departments. A functional team works as one.

8. Tight Feedback Loops

Teams need rapid learning. Through a tight feedback loop[3] (build -> measure -> learn), teams can learn at exponential rates.

9. Forward Thinking

Regularly expanding what is possible (and valuable) for users/customers by continually innovating.

10. Customer Communication

You need direct contact with customers/users. Everyone should be able to pick up the phone and talk with your customers.

11. Happiness

High performing teams find purpose in their work. If you enjoy the work you're doing, you're much more likely to do well.

12. Selflessness

Less “getting ahead” of the team. The whole team needs to be engaged in solutions instead of individuals 'siloing' themselves.

13. Structure

No one benefits from things like a broken organization structure, unnecessary meetings, etc. Teams need to be organized and structured.

14. Creativity

Everyone needs to be given time for “maker time”[4], where they can explore novel ideas and creative solutions. Empowering teams to be creative is crucial.

15. Focus

Teams should spend less time multitasking and, instead, focus on certain team members going deep into certain areas.

16. Adaptability

It's key to be able to respond effortlessly to change. Less friction during pivots will result in cleaner adjustments.

17. Inclusivity

Everyone from senior management to junior team members can make meaningful contributions to the team.

18. Support

Everyone needs to be positively supported. When someone is hired, that person needs to have all the resources they need to be properly supported.

19. Right Hires

For a team to be successful, it needs to have the right people in it. Strict criteria for hiring practices will help set teams up for success.

20. Move Fast, Break Stuff

You shouldn't need permission for everything you want to do. Fewer barriers allow you to move faster and get stuff done.

21. Candid

It's important that teammates can be honest with each other. The more comfortable teams feel with each other, the more likely that great ideas won't be held back.

22. Process

No one wants to do the same work twice. Process and procedure can ensure teams don't repeat the same work or the same conversations.

23. Direction

Having an awareness of how your work correlates to the overarching business goals and customer outcomes.

24. Attention To Detail

No one wants to be in a team of people who do a sloppy job. Owning your tasks and executing them in an effective manner is what needs to be done.

25. Teamwork

Regular collaboration with other teams to resolve all blockers is a must. Sometimes you need to get an outside perspective from outside members of your team.

26. Learning Mentality

Team members need to have a continual learning mentality. This will help team members try new technologies, experiment, and stay current in their field.

27. Lean

Teams adapt processes to challenge at hand, never using a one-size-fits-all approach. Staying lean goes a long way.

28. Trust

Team members need high trust levels within their team. Higher confidence levels present less of a desire to micromanage.

29. We Before Me

Team-level, not individual-level goals need to be the top priority. People concerned about themselves won't be as valuable to a team.

30. Idea-Driven

"Ideas over everything. Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people." - Eleanor Roosevelt

Modern Talent Management Requires Modern Workforce Training

The way we work is changing. According to a Government Accountability Office report[5], contingent workers (a category in which they broadly include contractors, self-employed workers, and part-time workers) now make up over 40% of the US workforce—the most of any time in history.

It’s no secret that more companies are utilizing contractors, whether for individual projects or as the engine of their entire business model. However, changes are also happening within the traditional employee/employer relationship. Technology has made it possible for more employees to work remotely, and teams may consist of members who are distributed throughout the globe. Even full-time employees may have a “side hustle”, spreading employee loyalty over multiple employers.

Sometimes, the distributed professionals a company depends on aren’t working directly for a company at all. Channel partners, vendors, and suppliers for some B2B SaaS companies and the seller side of marketplace platforms are critical parts of businesses who need support and development for both parties to succeed.

Because of this, talent management might be better referred to as “workforce management”. Whatever your team members’ official status, workforce management today requires a training program that’s dedicated to the success of every worker within your organization through every phase of their journey.

A Fluid Workforce Requires A Shift In Hiring And Training Practices

The walls of an organization used to be clearly defined: you were either part of the company—an employee—or you were not. These days, organizations are far more permeable. The occasional contractor and the department head are equally critical to the business model and often have an equal impact on the perception of your brand. It’s, therefore, crucial to pay equal attention to the training both are receiving.

Another shift is evident as companies increasingly organize themselves around a team-based model, rather than the top-down traditional hierarchy of management layers. These teams are often quite fluid, able to merge, disband and shift along with the requirements of the company. The roles of team members may also shift, and new positions will constantly need to be filled—whether by a full-time employee or a contractor.

This model requires finding the right person for the right role swiftly. These businesses are often moving too fast for the model of hiring an entry-level employee and training them into the role. Instead, it’s become necessary to attract outstanding talent and develop them rapidly along with the needs of the organization.

Today’s workforce requires a fluid approach to management—one that takes into account the entire scope of the employment funnel. Talent managers need to be focused on attracting, onboarding, developing and retaining workers.

To handle this new reality, talent managers require models of training that are automated, adaptable and applicable across the entire funnel. They need something that can be quickly updated and deployed, a system that is as agile as the business itself, and as fluid as the terms of employment.

Developing Dynamic Training Opportunities

Talent managers need a model that promotes the success of their team members and partners, and they need one that is flexible enough to meet the needs of workers in multiple types of employment or multiple roles.

As part of this shift, the need for training is often driven by the employee, not just by the organization. Workers want to grow their skill sets and are seeking out ways to shape their own careers. This is why many companies are now making their opportunities for growth and learning such a core part of their brand.

We’re starting to see a proliferation of learning technology. In-person seminars and workshops are being replaced by microlearning through video and short-form content a worker can consume on-demand at the moment they need to learn. Training materials embedded in software platforms can be seamlessly integrated with the user’s experience.

Welcome To The Future

The new reality of how we work is here today—and it’s bringing great opportunities to organizations prepared to embrace it. Many have already shifted their business models to reflect this more fluid workforce, so talent managers and HR departments require new tools in their toolkits. The ability of companies to attract, onboard, train and develop talent in this new model will greatly affect their bottom line.

Talent management has always been closely linked with a company’s success, but now that is true more than ever. Utilizing tools like embedded SaaS training, social learning and on-demand training will enable forward-thinking companies to push themselves even further ahead of the pack.

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1. How To Build A Company Where The Best Ideas Win

2. The Key To Employee-Empowering Leadership

3. The Build-Measure-Learn Feedback Loop

4. Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule

5. Shocker: 40% of Workers Now Have 'Contingent' Jobs, Says U.S. Government

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