Managing diverse teams to drive their creativity
Managing team for high performanceA “high-performance work team” refers to a group of goal-focused individuals with specialized expertise and complementary skills who collaborate, innovate and produce consistently superior results. The group relentlessly pursues performance excellence through shared goals, shared leadership, collaboration, open communication, clear role expectations and group operating rules, early conflict resolution, and a strong sense of accountability and trust among its members. Over the past couple of decades, a cult has grown up around team. Teams are considered almost sacrosanct. The believe that working in teams makes us more creative and productive is so widespread that when faced with a challenging new task, leader are quick to assume that teams are the best way to get the job done.The use of work teams is widespread in all types of organizations throughout the world—with good reason. High-performance work teams have an advantage over the work of individuals because each member can offer new ideas, talent and viewpoints. In addition, high-performance work teams predictably execute strategy, meet goals and need little management oversight because they are empowered and responsible for their functional activity and accountable for performance. Compensation and incentives are usually tied to the achievement of team and individual goals, respectively, with a heavier emphasis on collective team performance. Because superior team performance is so highly valued, these teams do not tolerate marginal and underperforming individual contributors.What distinguishes high-performance teams from other groups is that a team is more than a collection of people simply following orders. To function effectively, a high-performance team also needs:• A deep sense of purpose and commitment to the team’s members and to the mission.• Relatively more ambitious performance goals than average teams.• Mutual accountability and a clear understanding of members’ responsibilities to the team and individual obligations.• A diverse range of expertise that complements other team members.• Interdependence and trust between members.Success in today’s world is more about a team performance than individual performance. A team is more than just a group of co-workers. In fact, real teams are collective working units that are interdependent. The primary questions related to the output/ performance of a team can be based on the management of the team. That means the foundations (and factors) on which a team is build up will define the ultimate performance. There is no hard and fast rule to define the best way to manage global and diverse teams to drive their creativity and effectiveness. A basic rule would be that an effective understanding between team members is achieved and each member is contributing their best to achieve shared goals. During the process adequate knowledge/ information relevant to the individual job competencies and effective interactions to ensure good problem solving, decision making and coordination of effort are also crucial. Harvard Management guidelines some of the key factors that define best practices in a team for high performance. They are discussed briefly below:• Define/ Create Interdependencies: To make a team more effective it is needed that the structure and roles of each member are clearly defined. Interdependence, rather, is a combination of both dependence and independence. A dependent worker would be unable to complete a task on his own without constant input or support from another co-worker or supervisor, which could put a strain on that worker and the project. Likewise, an independent worker would be unable to work well as part of a team, being only able to complete individual tasks apart from other workers. Working interdependently means each worker can offer individual contributions that other workers require to do their own tasks. Collaboration in teamwork should be promoted and tasks should be delegated among members for effective time-management and high performance. Best example to these criteria can be seen with sports teams where every player assumes his position to play and success happens when all of the players are effective in their roles.• Establish Goals: Effective teams have agreed-upon goals that are simple, measurable and clearly relevant to the team’s task. Commitment and working towards a common goal is crucial to the team`s effectiveness and high performance. Ideally, team goals should allow both the team as a unit and the individual members to achieve both personal and group goals. All team members ensure that their own work is aligned with team objectives and key measureable metrics allocated to them are fulfilled.• How to Make Decisions: When a team and goals are clear the next step should be to define how decisions will be made. The team clearly needs to understand beforehand how decisions will be made. There are different approaches to make decisions in a group and this should be selected based on the project needs. In some cases, one person can be granted the right to decide in favor of the team, but often democratic decisions are favored. In some cases unanimous decisions, compromise, consensus or postponing can be preferred to facilitate the decision process in a satisfactory and non-conflict manner.• Feedbacks: Provide Clear and Constant Feedback. Teams need to know how their performance is in order to stay motivated and/or in track. This can be systematized so that team members receive ongoing feedback clearly on a constant basis. Receiving timely feedback is crucial to the effectiveness of the team. The act of constructive feedback can do more than anything else to improve quality and productivity.• Stable Team: Particularly in complex tasks, it takes a lot of time for team members to learn to work together at an optimum level. Building an effective team that is stable can hence bring higher productivity as the team stays together and continues to produce value in a long run. The other advantages of stable teams include lower management overhead, easier team budgeting and more trust among members, resulting in high performance. This can be related to sports team where a clear relationship between how long team members have played together and their winning record can be established.• Freedom to Challenge the Status Quo: In order to create a high performing team a creative environment should be encouraged. It is critical that team members are encouraged to challenge the status quo. A simple method to ensure great ideas and initiatives to challenge existing processes in order to improve should be rewarded. The freedom to challenge the status quo is an excellent spark intellectual curiosity and empowers team members to change the mindset for effective and high performance.• Use Team-Based Reward Systems: A team-based reward system is a way to compensate a group of people based on the combined contribution to a project or the organization. Common team based reward systems include deadline-driven targets, incentive bonuses, and profit sharing. Team based reward system motivates people to work together and keep them focused on reaching the group goals. However, too much emphasis on individual rewards can lead to in-fighting and resentment. A combination of individual and team-based rewards is often best.• Identify and Attract Talent: Just as processes sometimes need improvement, teams can get better by attracting new talent. Teams that have high performing talents simply do better. It is also know that bringing on high performers in team and empowering them to stretch further results in contagious effect, acting as a high performance magnet. This also signifies that the team should be built on focusing on individual strengths.• Facilitate a Learning Environment: A team with a culture of continuous improvement and where members are motivated to develop their skills and knowledge are high-performing teams. Facilitating a learning environment based on formalizing training and development plans, providing recognition to learning and developing knowledge and information sharing into a formal process are known to be effective in producing a high-performance team. • Focus on the Collective Mission: Mission-driven teams perform better because they see beyond their individual workload and tasks and feel as if they are working for a higher purpose. It is imperative that team members be committed to the shared collective mission. Although there is no simple measure of performance effectiveness for groups, and no team is identical, there seems to be a shared understanding of what makes an effective group work. High-performance work teams are generally composed of a combination of purpose and goals, talent, skills, performance ethics, incentives and motivation, efficacy, leadership, conflict, communication, power and empowerment, and norms and standards. High-performing teams are synergistic social entities that work toward the achievement of a common goal or goals -short term and long term. They often exemplify a total commitment to the work and to each other.