A bunch of ordinary people, delivering an extraordinary performance is termed as a high performing team. Creating a high performing team though, seems like a mammoth task – perhaps because such teams are very few and far between.
While there is no single silver bullet to construct such a team, one big measure that builds such synergy in a team is a culture of “No Surprises”. So, how do we create such a No-Surprises culture in an organization?
A no-surprises culture is closely linked to open communication between its members. This implies:
• Every member knows the roles and responsibilities of every other member
• Problems and confusions faced are openly discussed
• Feedback is sought and given freely, without fear or favor
• Mistakes, when they happen are discussed as “opportunities to improve” – and not as “blunders” leading to witch-hunts.
• Being 100% honest, at the same time being 100% respectable
A few simple tricks that has been shared by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton, in their book – The Orange Revolution – to master open communication, which results in a No Surprise culture are:-
1) Acknowledgement and Respect for each other:
A culture of no surprises is sparked when the team members become aware of each other’s responsibilities and they learn to respect them also. Team members can learn multiple roles within the team to understand the problems faced while performing those roles. When we understand each other’s roles we become more aware of the impact of each person on the whole system.
Information or messages are an integral part of any team, and for information to flow so that there is no place for hidden information, incorrect outcomes and disengaged team, it is important that team members and managers are available. This culture helps in ensuring all team members share information about issues and have the opportunity to ask tough questions which is in the best interest of the team.
Lack of availability leads to misinterpretation of information or taking uninformed wrong decisions by the team members. Being available helps in fostering a culture wherein all team members can, not only communicate but can communicate openly and honestly.
3) Accepting ideas :
Source: PexelsFree flow and open communication helps in building a culture of sharing ideas without any hesitation of it being a strange or silly idea. Performing teams celebrate the fact that it is a new idea and not whether it is a good or bad idea. So to foster a culture that generates ideas the first step is to actively seek ideas. Every idea whether good or bad should be appreciated because the intent behind suggesting those ideas was to help the team or the team member.
4) Responsiveness :
Imagine a situation where you have sent an important and urgent email and what you get in response is a complete silence or no response. How frustrating it becomes to lose deals or suffer because of lack of timely response from your team members.
Performing teams master this art by being responsive. They do not leave their team mates in limbo and hold each other accountable for communication. They are open in confronting their team mates on how their lack of responsiveness can affect team’s goal. Not responding on time can be interpreted as lack of respect, lack of interest, laziness or signal of frustration which can lead to mistrust, misalignment or team anxiety.
Responsiveness does not mean that one has to give the correct reply immediately. “I will get back to you be the end of this week” is a fair and acceptable response. What is not fair is complete silence.
5) Broadcasting Vitals :
Source: PixabayOne of the basic characteristics of a performing team is that each and every member is aware of the deadlines, goals, responsibilities and progress of their team mates. Sharing such information helps in making the team accountable towards the goals. It helps in throwing light into where the team is heading towards. In times of crisis, it helps team members to get together, to share duties and responsibilities of each other.
6) Offer help, ask for help :
Source: PixabayIn a performing team asking for help is not considered as a sign of weakness. In fact asking for help or offering help is considered as a tool to enhance trust within the team members. This attitude helps teams in being committed to the ultimate goal. By helping each other we tend to understand each other responsibilities and the challenges faced. By asking help we in turn show respect and trust that each one has on the other team member.
7) More face to face time.
Source: FlickrAs the saying goes “teams that play together stay together”. Performing teams often meet to discuss fears, success, struggles or even failures. They always look for opportunities to stay together which helps them in bonding.
These seven traits can help create a no-surprises culture, which in turn can help create a world class high performing team, which can help transform an organization.
How does your team fare on these traits? Do share your thoughts.