High Impact Teams
Happier, More Productive, Better Quality, Faster Response Time, and Better Solutions.
The term ‘high impact team’ is defined as teams who are highly effective and outperform individuals in most, if not all, organizations where they are effectively employed. This potential can be enhanced by knowing how to optimize team functioning, which comes through an understanding of why teams function well.
“Teams are somewhat akin to audio amplifiers: Whatever passes through the device – be it signal or noise – comes out louder.”
– J. Richard Hackman
High impact teams achieve a level of synergy and agility that never could be preprogramed by organization planners or enforced by external managers. Essentially, in a true high impact team, the output is much greater than the sum of the parts. At Advocate, we use teams to deliver high-performance results and high-performance client engagement. We have developed this philosophy over years of working in the industry; we have perfected the technique and our clients can clearly see the difference.
The evidence shows that a successful working team can increase performance in terms of efficiency and quality. This was the finding of a large-scale study by Appelbaum and Batt, who explored 12 large scale studies and 185 case studies. If teams are operating as they should, they have numerous advantages:
- Time is saved as tasks can be conducted concurrently rather than sequentially and are more cost
- Teams can integrate and cross-reference information in a way that is beyond an individual
- Innovation is increased due to a sharing of
- Goal achievement
- Organizations can learn and retain learning more
The defining characteristic of a team is shared goals. Studies have shown that specific and clearly defined goals yield greater performance than non-specific goals. Specific and difficult goals yield the greatest results in team performance. Goals which promote individual performance, instead of team performance, have been shown to have a negative effect on performance. The process which works best is ‘group-centric’ participative goal setting, which is designed to maximize everyone’s contribution to the group and has been shown to increase team performance.
The most-effective teams are those that are doing important work for their organizations, and that have been granted the authority to make important decisions. It is also imperative to keep in touch with your teams and make sure they are accountable for their progress and results.
Our team philosophy is to encourage every employee to ask questions during team meetings, especially the “What-ifs?”, and then seriously consider them. Discussing a variety of possible outcomes, however remote they may seem, gives your team the advantage of being prepared in advance for almost any situation they may encounter. Employees from all levels in the organization should attend these meetings. Seeing things from the point of view of less-experienced employees can sometimes help the team come up with an idea that would otherwise be overlooked.
Team composition is about having the right mix of people within the team. This involves the mix between capabilities, skills, background, and personality. This includes not only technical abilities and experience but also interpersonal skills such as communication and conflict resolution. Training can be used to facilitate development in many of these areas. Experience, training and coaching are all essential to ensure that staff have the skills and support required to undertake the role.