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Performance Management for Teams

Performance Management for Teams is different to Team Building (and it is also different to Performance Management for individuals).

There are many different definitions of 'team building', but in most people's eyes it refers to an activity that helps develop the team in some way - it can include a wide range of things, such as:

These can be very useful. But they are often a matter of 'hit or miss'. The activities are introduced in the belief or hope that they will improve the way the group operates - but whether they are seen to impact on collective performance or not depends more on whether you believe 'intuitively' that they are good for the team, rather than the inherent or demonstrable value of the activities.

That is where Team Performance Management has an important role to play.

Team Performance Management is focused directly on the achievement of the team's key business objectives. It bridges the gap between the team building 'enablers' and business performance results. It removes the reliance on 'faith' - the need to believe that team building works before investing in it - and establishes a direct connection between collective behaviours and team performance.

Team Performance Management is predicated on the following three principles:

  1. Team Behaviours are different to Individual Behaviours. Most competency frameworks include "teamwork", but these usually refer to what an individual does within a team, not what a team does collectively together. Eg: whilst all the individuals in a team can behave in trustworthy ways, this does not guarantee that the team will build trust together - this is also dependent on other factors such as the environment they work in, or the team processes they use for communicating, deciding, rewarding, etc..
  2. The behaviours that make a team successful vary - from team to team and from time to time. Eg: the profile of behaviours that makes a design team successful is different from the profile that make a financial audit team successful. And if the design team is using a top-down approach, for optimal performance, it needs to change its behaviours once it gets beyond the outline design and starts work on the detailed implementation of the ideas.
  3. Team behaviours can be changed using a team performance management process. In essence, performance management involves establishing behavioural goals, measuring current behaviours to identify the gap between the current and desired behaviour profile, and then planning, implementing and monitoring changes in order to close that gap. There are both similarities and significant differences between performance management processes for individuals and teams.

The methodology we offer for Team Performance Management achieves these principles in the following ways:

In summary, the key difference between traditional team building and team performance management is that the former engages in activities in the belief that they will indirectly lead to improvements in team performance (sometimes they do, sometimes they don't). Team Performance Management, however, identifies the team behaviours that will lead directly to business success, and then uses a process to change the behaviours accordingly.

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