Our model forms the basis for all the programs we deliver:
- Performance Improvement Program
- High Performance Leadership
- Individual coaching and mentoring
- Guest speaking
Our model was first developed by co-founder Ray McLean during his days in the RAAF. He observed that all the teams he worked with received the same training, and yet some performed better than others. He realised there must be more to it than just training them on the mechanics of flying aeroplanes. So he started to explore the dynamics of the team – the behaviours and relationships between the members.
The resulting model of high performance and leadership has barely changed in over 25 years. We stick with it, because we know it can work for any given team.
Many companies focus on their numbers, systems, processes and KPIs to achieve success – or as we call it at Leading Teams, the mechanics. However, we know that focusing attention on the dynamics (culture, relationships, behaviour) will have a direct and positive impact on the mechanics of your business.
At Leading Teams we believe that there are three crucial elements to any high performing team:
1. Common purpose
How do you define a team? We think that a team is any collection of people that have a common purpose; a group that is all trying to achieve the same thing.
If you’re not sure of yours, ask yourself, why does your team exist? What impact would there be on the organisation if your team didn’t exist? You might be a sports team, all trying to win a premiership. Or you might be a sales team trying to win new business. Or you might be a working group drawn from lots of different areas of a business, all working together to deliver a project. Your team doesn’t have to be formally defined, but it does have to share a common purpose if you are to achieve your objectives.
2. Agreed behavioural framework
What does it mean to be in your team? What behaviours do you expect? What behaviours do you accept that you know are counterproductive? Do you hear the language of responsibility of the language or blame and excuses?
We ask every team we work with to create a set of behaviours – we call this a trademark – that define the team. And then we ask every member of the team to commit to living those behaviours, and to rewarding and challenging the behaviours they see from their colleagues according to that framework.
3. Strong professional relationships
Team dynamics are built on relationships. How much time do you spend working on your relationships in your team? We think it should be a priority, but often it’s not. And to be clear, we’re not referring to friendships – whilst it’s great to be friends with your colleagues it’s important to make sure you don’t let friendship affect your ability to give and receive feedback. Building strong professional relationships, and an environment of trust and respect, takes time and effort but it pays dividends in performance.
Together, these three elements combine to create an environment of psychological safety (the number 1 factor in team success according to Google’s re:Work) in which team members can have genuine conversations about performance.
What do we mean by ‘genuine conversations’?
Genuine conversations happen once you’ve established your trademark and spent time developing strong professional relationships.
Quite simply, a genuine conversation is a conversation about performance, with the intent of helping someone in your team to improve, whatever their role or level of responsibility in the business. We don’t label feedback as positive or negative – if it comes from the right place, all feedback is an opportunity to improve.
It takes time and effort to develop an environment of mutual trust and respect that creates a safe environment for genuine conversations and that’s ok. Our facilitators will work with you on the steps to take to get there.
We know that this can be a daunting process for some but we find that once people reach the point where they can comfortably have genuine conversations, they never regret it. Often people will engage in negative self-talk about genuine conversations (“It will be difficult, it’s too hard to say”) but once you shift your perception to a view that the conversation is about caring for your colleague and helping them to improve, the process becomes second-nature. look back.
We use our own model in-house and we are no strangers to the genuine conversation in our team. It’s not always easy, but we know and understand the benefits that come with having the conversation and we’ve established a strong environment of trust that helps us to support each other through challenging moments.
We’ve written a few articles on our blog that might help to explain it in a bit more depth:
- How do you respond to feedback?
- The truth about genuine conversations
- Conflict is inevitable, so focus on making it healthy
- The best way to address failure at work
- Counterproductive behaviour: address it or avoid it?