In business, as in most human endeavors, the best teams win. A work group, business unit, or organization that functions as an effective team will always outperform one that doesn’t. But what factors need to be present for “great teamwork” to exist, and how do you go about building effective teams?
Studies point to seven key performance areas, the “Seven C’s” that separate high-performing teams from the rest. Each have a uniquely important role in building effective teams. Focusing on improvement in these areas will increase overall team effectiveness.
The Seven C’s of Effective Team Performance
Clarity of purpose focuses a team on what to accomplish and how it fits within an organization’s larger priorities. Clarity of roles and responsibilities help team members understand, agree on, and accept their individual roles. With clarity, teams will find it easier to make decisions and work together.
The core of team performance is developing a team that balances between members who already possess necessary skills with those who still need skill development. The team’s skill set determines how individuals should apply their skills to the work.
Before a team can achieve a collective goal, individuals must be able to work independently as well as team members. Research confirms that the most effective teams are collaborative. It’s what enables the synergy required for teams to achieve their goals and forms the basis for problem solving, decision making, and change management.
Commitment is really two factors: accountability and trust. Without these, teams cannot succeed. Commitment motivates, strengthens, and prepares teams to face tough challenges.
Teams must employ all available technologies to be connected, informed, and coordinated. High-performing teams have an open communication structure that enables all members to participate. Open, honest dialogues lead to better choices and decisions.
Teams oriented towards continuous improvement are better able to face new challenges with skill and confidence. High-performing teams are not only committed to individual performance, but are more likely to evaluate performance, evolve team processes, and improve interpersonal dynamics.
When an organization encourages creativity, team members can solve problems more effectively. To foster creativity, organizations must create an environment that supports risk-taking, encourages diversity of membership, and tolerates ambiguity.
The Seven Seas Company has asked your teams to bid on a contract for designing and building a tall ship. But in order for a team to win, they must first demonstrate that embody the “Seven C’s.”
Three game rounds reveal the team dynamics that impact team effectiveness. In Round 1, teams assemble the tallest ship mast possible in the least amount of time. Lessons learned are discussed and applied to the Seven C’s model. Round 2 challenges teams to rethink their strategy and build a taller mast in the same amount of time, but at the lowest cost. Following a performance assessment and debrief, teams assemble the mast according to new specifications. An action-planning phase follows teams with an opportunity to improve their performance.