Doing the work to build a high performing team always seems like a daunting task. So many different personalities, agendas and styles have to come together in order for the team to achieve its goal of accomplishing considerably more than what could be accomplished by individuals, working separately. And when you think you’ve (finally) arrived, figuring out how to keep a successful team motivated to keep performing at increasingly challenging levels can be an equally daunting challenge. What does it take to keep a team continuously improving? To embrace a new mission? To tackle new goals? Sometimes the real issue isn’t about the team’s performance, but about a lack of recognition of where the team is going, or knowing when you’ve arrived—making it easy to get lost or disillusioned along the way. The following is a list of eight characteristics we believe define a high performance team. To get your team involved in their own self-assessment, ask each team member to rate their team on each characteristic using a scale of 1-5. At your next team meeting, have each team member share their scores and comments to see where the team agrees there is opportunity for improvement. 1. Problem Solving. The team has normal and routine ways of tackling problems, addressing issues, and handling conflict together. All team members know when and how to escalate issues to team problem solving formats and do so as needed. Problems tend to be addressed proactively, before they have grown into serious issues. Rating 2. Synergy. It is clear to all team members that they accomplish more together than they could individually. Team members feed off one another, generating new and creative ideas that wouldn’t be generated by working alone. The team regularly sets goals for what they can do together, that are much bigger than the sum of their individual efforts. Rating 3. Adaptation. Flexibility. High performing teams have learned how to be flexible, responsive, orderly and direct. They regularly move into unknowns where they must quickly adapt to new information or situations as they are presented. They have routines, but are open to changing them quickly when they no longer work. Rating 4. Open and Authentic. The team regularly uses active listening to ensure information is exchanged between team members as intended. Conflict is encouraged as a way to constructively explore something new or different. Curiosity is more important to the team than is judgment. Rating 5. Results Focused. No matter the obstacle, the team finds a way to deliver the high quality work they all know is ex pected of them—on time and within budget. The drive for results frequently trumps other considerations and team members “buckle down” when the going gets tough. Personal challenges are acknowledged, but are never allowed to supersede the team’s mission. Rating 6. Always Learning. The team places a high value on its collective learning and is constantly exploring new knowledge and new ways of working together. Individuals frequently take responsibility to bring back information to the team as a way to grow the team’s expertise and ultimately its performance. Rating 7. Accountability. Team members take full accountability for both team results and their own contributions to those results. When things go wrong, there is no finger pointing or blame—team member’s step up to the plate regularly to diagnose personal or team mistakes and explore ways to avoid them in the future. Rating 8. Support. Members of most high performance teams spend time supporting one another in a variety of ways that reflects their mutual respect and encourages their enjoyment of each other. Team members regularly extend their personal efforts to ensure the success of others on the team. Rating The PACE Staffing Network has been helping HR and Hiring Managers put together the right combinations of people and skills to create high performance teams for over three decades. Our Assessment Centers help customers not only select employees who have the hard skills needed to be successful on a team, but the necessary aptitudes and work styles needed to become strong team contributors. If you’re having difficult putting together the right team, please contact 425-637-3312 for a complimentary exploration of the many things you can be doing to improve team performance.