Building high performing teams

Hi there, and welcome to my first blog (with thanks to @mrsmoti for the motivation!).  I am Dorothy Johnson, Director of HR Connexions Wales, and over the course of my posts I’ll be sharing some fascinating HR case studies. We start with the subject of how best to build a high performing team…

I recently led such a team (Dotalena) that completed a task that was way beyond their normal day-to-day experiences.  The task? To cycle over 160kms along the Avon and Kennet canal (read Alison Love’s account of the trip here).  The result? A resounding success!

So why was the team so high performing and the trip such a success?

  • It was a Big Challenge – This task was way out of the comfort zone for all team members.  A training plan was devised to ensure that everyone was bike fit.  Advice was sought about bike maintenance, and there was lots of preparation and discussion about luggage carrying (a real challenge as everything had to be carried on the bike!).
  •  There was passion – They are an energetic, determined and focused group.  There was a tangible get-up-and-go attitude between team members.  Not only was everyone absorbed in the task to be performed, but each person developed a positive energy to find the right solutions to overcome the challenges.
  •  There was a sense of fun – There was much discussion about suitable accommodation arrangements along the route, which even included organising the white wine to be ready and waiting in the fridge!
  •  They had space – To be themselves!  This team would have been unmanageable!  Now will Dr Paul Thomas (@businessdocme) sympathise? The team leader was self appointed, and over time it became clear that other roles (technical director and security director) were sorted naturally.

This example reinforces my view on successful teams.  If people see a challenge in what they do, have a passion to perform, and have space to create magic, they will succeed.  This challenge had nothing to do with financial reward, and in work we must not underestimate the importance of autonomy, mastery and a sense of purpose.  Given the right opportunities, people always achieve.

The HR departments in today’s organizations are not waiting for financial recognition.  They are passionate, self driven and often self organized.  Is it not time organisations tapped into them? See our ‘HR on the Board‘ course to understand how to build a high performing HR team that will deliver impressive results, aligned to your business objectives.

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