Tracking Team Performance

How do you know you’ve been successful, that your team has been effective?  Ask an athlete.  The first thing any of them will tell you is that if they’ve won they’ve been successful.  How effective they are shows up in the box score and win-loss columns every day.  

So how do we define winning in our (usually) more benign organizational contexts?  Ask whether your clients are happy.  Did you meet, or even exceed, their expectations?  If the answer to that is “yes”, then that’s the same as winning the big game.

The second thing you’ll hear is that the team got better.  There was an increase in capability.  The team is moving up in the standings.  Or maybe a dynasty is forming.  The teams that are truly effective find ways to sustain and improve their high performance.

At our workplaces, effective teams find new ways to delight their clients.  They develop new products and services or better ways to deliver the old ones.

And finally, individual team members learn, grow, and find satisfaction in the work of the team.  After all, if there’s nothing in all this for me, why would I stick around?

The very best, highest performing teams hit on all these measures of effectiveness consistently.  The good ones get it right on at least a couple of them most of the time.  The bad ones, well…. Where is your team?

(Source: Richard Hackman, Leading Teams (2002))

In the coming days, we’ll look at some of the things you can do to help your team hit these measures more consistently.