How to build a high performing team?

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How to build a high performing team? Are These the Essential Elements for a High-performing Business Culture?

This series of questions was sparked from a chicken and egg discussion last year with a customer during a workshop on culture change. The presenter made the suggestion that, in any situation, the customer was the most important person as, without him or her, the business would not exist. The HR manager believed that the people in the business were more important because, without the people in the business, the business would not have any customers. You can judge that one for yourself.

There are some really fundamental and basic questions to be answered to achieving a high-performing business culture. It’s incredible how often we come across a business in which the management team lacks clarity on the answers to this set of questions. Perhaps, as the business grows and grows the task of keeping people focused on a clear, logical set of objectives and principles becomes more and more difficult.

1. Why does the business exist?

Only the business leaders can answer this one, initially.

2. What value does the business add to the customer?

What is the product or service this business supplies to its customers? Let’s refer to this as the value-add.

3. What is unique or better about the value-add this business offers?

Again, the business founder will be clear on this and should seek to ensure all employees have an equal understanding

4. What is critical to quality in the eyes of the customer?

Often referred to as CTQ’s should be central to the day-to-day operation of the business

5. How quickly does the customer want it?

How quickly the customer wanted it last year is likely to be longer than today and much longer than the future. Order today – delivered today model for the future.

6. What is the customer willing to pay for it?

A cup of coffee can be purchased for a £1, Starbucks coffee cost typically around £2.50. The customer is not buying coffee, the customer is buying the brand and the experience that goes with it.

7. How will these be measured?

How will the business measure Quality, Cost and Delivery? QCD. How will these measures cascade meaningfully from boardroom level to the day-to-day actions of business operatives?

8. What are the processes to deliver the value-add to the customer to the right quality, at the right price and as quickly as a customer wants it?

Standardised business processes that map out the value-adding process from raw materials to finished product and are integrated into the day-to-day activity of employees

9. How do we make sure these processes are reliable and efficient?

How do we eliminate error and failure from the process and know that we are in control? How do we make it easy to do right and difficult to do wrong?

10. How do we identify and make improvements to these processes to stay ahead of the competition?

Ensuring the correct quality and quantity of resources is available and free from day-to-day distraction to think long term and to drive improvement

11. What skills do we need to operate our processes?

Technical skills, Communication skills, Teamwork skills and ability to adapt and learn quickly

12. What skills do we need to coach and lead our teams?

Coaching, Motivational, Leadership, Listening, Communication, Teamwork, Technical, Strategic

13. What behaviours will underpin our ability to stay ahead of the competition?

Motivation and attitude influence behaviours, behaviours influence actions and actions govern performance. Only by identifying the optimum set of business behaviours and then setting about recruiting and nurturing these behaviours within the business can the business hope to achieve a high-performing culture and operational excellence.

14. How do we attract and select people with these skills and behaviours?

By addressing all the other essential elements, the company’s reputation will grow and be no shortage of people willing to join. Careful selection of the right skills motivation and behaviours will sustain that reputation. Selection processes must verify core technical skills but must also test predominant beliefs and behaviours in a variety of situations.

15. How do we reward, retain and motivate these people to continue to add value to the business?

One company believed the key to achieving the lowest manufacturing cost was to pay its workers the minimum wage, have strong team leaders and operational guidelines for these employees to follow so as not to stray. Another company believed the key to achieving lowest manufacturing costs was to pay its workers at least 10% higher than its competitors and having attracted the best-available talent, create a supportive environment which encouraged and empowered those workers to continuously improve performance.


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