Is your business going through changes? Has it recently acquired a company, merged with another business, or is it in need of some cultural adjustments to address the downturn in the economy?
The best way to address changes within a business is to gather the best and brightest members from each department to work on the crafting and implementing of new goals.
“High-performance teams help create business game plans that make sense and address the big picture,” says Jim Scholes, Vice President of Human Resources for Talent Tree, a staffing company based in Houston.
Smart Business spoke with Scholes about the advantages of creating high-performance teams and how to create such a team in your own business.
What are some of the top scenarios where it would be wise to create a high-performance team?
A major change in organizational culture, such as a merger, acquisition or a decision to take a business to the next level; new product or service offerings; new corporate direction, such as taking a business nationwide; budget cuts, downsizing or poor economic times; and major capital expenditures or changes in funding or revenue stream.
How does creating a high-performance team help a business get through these challenges?
By including key leaders from your company’s departments, it is more likely that the team will understand and act on the bigger picture. Working collaboratively this way helps to promote cooperation and commitment and, in the end, will improve the quality of a product or service because everyone has ‘bought in’ to the changes.
It also creates common goals that are agreed upon and make sense to the team’s members, which helps it work collaboratively toward those goals.
Using the high-performance team approach, by the way, isn’t an indication that the company is in financial trouble or under stress. It is a great technique to use whenever the company is undergoing any kind of change even positive change, such as a new marketing image, or a new product or service offering, or during expansion. A high-performance team can be assembled and come in quickly to effectively put a plan together that is more creative and addresses many more different elements than plans made with only C-level executive input.
What does a high-performance team look like?
It is a small group from about seven to 12 people from all levels of the organization, from the hourly front desk employee to the CEO. It should also include leaders from your sales, marketing, human resources and finance departments.
The team, however, needs more than good will and a desire to get things done. It should also include a coach or a moderator who has experience building high-performance teams and has the tools and knowledge to move the team toward its goal. The coach can be hired from the outside or be an internal employee with this kind of experience.
What are some other key components to a successful high-performance team?
The participants need to understand what the shared goals are and the desired end results. The team shouldn’t be created privately or in secret, since the rumor mill in your organization will form its own assumptions often not positive if employees are not told the truth. Communicate openly with your employees about why the group is being formed and the desired outcome. This will generate good will and will avoid rumors that can be counterproductive to your goals.
What happens once the high-performance team has reached its planning goals?
Then the CEO has to decide if the company needs a separate team for implementing the goals. The implementation team can consist of the same members of the planning team, but keep in mind that sometimes implementation requires a different skill set. Once the goals are met, the role of the high-performance team is not over. Today’s business world climate requires constant improvement within an organization. The team’s work is never done and it must meet periodically to tweak and improve its goals.
What are the downsides to not creating a high-performance team to address challenges or changes in a company?
Well, you can bet your competition is creating these teams and benefiting from it. With our economic circumstances at the moment, you can be sure that there will be fewer businesses when we come out of the other end of this economic crisis.
Companies that create these kinds of teams and tap into the potential of their entire work force will be the ones, I believe, that will survive.
JIM SCHOLES is Vice President of Human Resources at Talent Tree, a staffing company based in Houston. Reach him at (713) 789-1818 or firstname.lastname@example.org.