The Impact of Team Performance - Data to Make Improvements

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In the modern workplace, there are a number of factors conspiring against effective teamwork. Information overload, conflicting goals, telecommuting and high staff turnover can make it difficult for highly effective individuals to be a part of truly effective teams.

In fact, over 20 years ago, management great Peter Drucker highlighted the corporate leadership challenge, saying, “Which team to use for what purpose is a crucial, difficult and risky decision that is even harder to unmake.”

It’s a rare executive who does not acknowledge that team performance is a critical aspect of organizational success. Teams drive results by aligning their initiatives with an organization’s strategy.

The ThinkWise Impact of Team Performance Survey collected the thoughts of more than 100 senior executives from organizations across America who shared their experience of building high-performing teams and the overall impact teams have on a company’s success. We asked leaders about the performance realities of their teams, to define the characteristics of high-performing teams and to provide insights into how their teams are in fact performing.

 

Improving Team Performance

Avoiding accountability is the behavior most likely to be found in underperforming teams, compared to average teams (11 percentage points higher), while not communicating with a leader when unclear is nine percentage points higher in underperforming teams. Blaming others for poor performance is also seven percentage points more likely to exist in underperforming teams.


Traits most likely to be found in underperforming teams

 

 Average 

 Underperforming 

 Difference 

Avoiding accountability

53%

63%

10

Not communicating with a leader when unclear on a task

54%

63%

9

Blaming others for poor performance

39%

46%

7

Feedback about performance is given a low priority by the boss

37%

40%

3

Complaining about tasks

32%

34%

2

Spreading rumors about team members

36%

37%

1

Ignoring assignment deadlines

31%

31%

0

Being defensive when feedback does occur

46%

46%

0

Taking credit when it was a team effort

17%

14%

-3

 

 Therefore, it is perhaps unsurprising to see that senior executives with high-performing teams expect internal team performance to have the greatest impact on organizational value (rated 3.42 out of 5 compared to 3.35 average and 3.3 in underperforming teams).


Attributes that will impact organizational value, average rating (out of 5.0)

 

 Average 

  High    Performing 

 Underperforming 

Internal team performance

3.35

3.42

3.3

Availability of human talent

3.17

3.06

3.25

Speed of technological change

2.88

2.91

2.86

Domestic (U.S.) competition

2.75

2.82

2.69

Availability of financial capital

2.72

2.55

2.84

Government regulations

2.68

2.64

2.7

International competition

1.93

2.06

1.83

 

Senior executives with underperforming teams rate the availability of human talent second highest (3.25), which likely reflects recognition that to improve team performance, talented people must be recruited to their teams.

The impact of technological change (2.91) and domestic competition (2.82) is realized by business leaders with high-performing teams, but overlooked to a greater degree by executives with underperforming teams.

Respondents with underperforming teams also worry more about the availability of financial capital (2.84) and the impact of government regulations (2.7) compared to leaders of high-performing teams. In contrast, business leaders with high-performing teams are looking at international markets (2.06) and domestic competitors (2.82) and preparing their teams to outperform their rivals.

Senior executives with underperforming teams are more likely to ask for performance training to improve team member effectiveness (four percentage points higher than average and nine percentage points higher than high-performing teams). They are also more likely to ask for increased budget to improve team performance (four percentage points higher than average and eight percentage points more than high-performing teams).

 

What is needed to be more successful in improving team performance?

 

 Average 

   High      Performing 

 Underperforming 

More effective team members from performance training

47%

42%

51%

More budget

42%

38%

46%

More attention to the measurement process

39%

28%

49%

More measurement data

30%

21%

37%

More executive-level involvement

23%

28%

20%

More performance measurement tools

23%

17%

29%

More trained HR personnel

19%

24%

14%

Better alignment of performance with sales

19%

21%

17%

 

The greatest difference in the ability to improve team performance rests in how they succeed or fail to collect and communicate performance data, as can be seen in the chart below. Almost half (49 percent) of underperforming teams recognize they need to pay more attention to the measurement process, 21 percentage points higher than high-performing peers. Over a third (37 percent) of senior executives with underperforming teams need additional measurement data to be more successful in improving team performance, 16 percentage points higher than peers with high-performing teams. And three in 10 senior executives (29 percent) with underperforming teams seek additional performance measurement tools, 12 percentage points more than peers in high-performing teams.

 

An inability to measure performance is the
greatest impediment to improving performance

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 At ThinkWise, our goal is to provide you with the necessary resources to make smart Employee Development decisions. Below is a link to the report: What Gets Measured Gets Managed. This guide will help you understand more about aligning your business strategies and improving team performance.

 

Download the guide: What Gets Measured Gets Managed

 

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