Maintaining Deep-Performing Teams During Change
In the last three years, every individual and company have experienced their fair share of change, and we live in uncertain times so it is no surprise that we will continue to experience immense change. However, during change, deep performance does not have to go to the back burner. This week we are talking about how to maintain deep-performing teams during change. It’s possible we just need to know the secret ingredients.
The Pillars of Deep Performing Teams
Deep-performing teams have many characteristics that set them apart from the average team. It is these characteristics, or pillars, that we need to maintain and tend to during change and uncertainty to ensure that the teams are still reaching deep performance in all areas. The pillars are mutual trust and respect, shared vision, clear and open communication, continuous learning, and engaged leadership.
Each of these pillars is equal in value, importance, and necessity. These are the pillars that depending on how they are engaged, will define a team as mediocre or set them apart as deep performing. When one pillar is forgotten, not seen as important, or not capitalised upon fully, the team will struggle to reach their goals collectively and to the highest level.
Psychologists have long concluded that for deep-performing teams to remain coherent, collective, and effective groups, three psychological factors are essential: autonomy, competence, and relatedness. These three psychological needs create the foundation from which the pillars rise, and it explains why each pillar is essential to a well-rounded deep performing team.
The Five Pillars in Depth
Now let’s look at each pillar and why it is essential to teams experiencing change. First up, mutual trust and respect. Change can be a make-or-break point for teams. Each team member is experiencing high loads of anxiety or uncertainty and will rely on each other for support, encouragement, and reassurance. A team that can trust each other makes navigating change easier as a whole and ensures that no man is left behind. A shared vision is also absolutely critical during change as that vision becomes the anchor that each person holds when everything else is crumbling around them. Coming back to the shared vision also creates a good picture of where the team stands compared to the goal they are aiming for.
Communication in any team is critical, yet even more so in a deep-performing team! What empowers a culture of clear and open communication is mutual trust and respect, hence why we need each of the pillars. We saw during the pandemic how channels of communication changed and evolved and their importance, and in the times ahead communication needs to remain central to the team’s foundation. Good communication allows ideas, important information, and redirection to flow naturally.
Even the best deep-performing teams have room to grow, expand, and become better. The channels of continuous learning are self-development, taking feedback seriously, and learning from mistakes. What sets deep-performing teams apart are the way they use any form of feedback or mistake as a key point of discussion into how they will close this gap next time, which we call debriefing. Debriefing is critical for deep-performing teams and it is not exclusive to military teams, every business and company should implement them into everyday life. Lastly, but certainly not least, deep-performing teams need an engaged leader during change. An engaged leader is like the sail on a boat, it determines where the whole team is heading, the pace, speed, and where they end up. Teams cannot navigate change effectively without a strong leader who is actively engaged with the team.
Collective Resilience In Deep-Performing Teams
Resilience is a word that is often used in relation to change, and it is the cherry on top for deep-performing teams who are going to outlast change and not let change outlast them. A team that is collectively committed to resilience are stronger than a team flailing around in the winds of change. Resilient teams are made up of individuals who are resilient or at least committed to resilience.
Teams, in or out of change, will always face challenges. And without resilience, that team will fold under the pressure that challenge comes with. Resilient teams know they can get tasks done together. It is great for individuals to have confidence that they can successfully achieve goals, a greater sense of confidence needs to be held by the team as a whole. Resilient teams also know how to improvise. As we all know, stuff doesn’t always go our way, reality changes and we have to be ready to adapt, improvise, and change tack at the drop of a hat. Resilient teams aren’t afraid of change because they are already one step ahead with a plan in place.
Leaders should be instilling their own confidence into their deep-performing teams before adversity, change, and challenges arrive. When change strikes, the leader should have instilled enough confidence and belief into their teams that their teams don’t question their ability in the face of what has occurred. But this doesn’t mean they won’t need reminding! Encourage your teams because we know how exhausting long-drawn-out change can be! It erodes down upon people as they trudge through the mud of challenge and change. Deep-performing teams are resilient teams, and I would argue that resilience begins with the leader. Are you the kind of leader that is instilling resilience and confidence into your team?
Don’t Wait for Change to Build Your Pillars
The most important message here is to not wait until change arrives to begin building these pillars. For a deep-performing team to survive, they can’t be building these pillars in the middle of the storm. The success of the team counts on those pillars being strong before the change! Building and reinforcing these pillars should be a daily goal for teams everywhere, and they will only have themselves to thank when the change comes, and they are still standing on the other side of it! Don’t wait for change, start acting now!
Hey! You’re Biased! – #26 Declination Bias
The declinism bias is the tendency of humans to look at the past in an overly positive light but look towards the future with a negative perspective. This bias then convinces us that things are only getting worse and that they are worse than they used to be. It is usually when we look at government, the state of the country, or the state of the world, that we see that we are on the decline, and things will never be as good as they were.
Ochronus. (2021). The most important characteristics of high-performance teams. Leadership Garden. https://leadership.garden/building-high-performance-teams/
Prossack, A. (2021). 5 Key characteristics of high performing teams. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/ashiraprossack1/2021/01/31/5-key-characteristics-of-high-performing-teams/?sh=5e2488a1351d
Kirkman, B., Stoverink, A., Mistry, S., & Rosen, B. (2019). The 4 things resilient teams do. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2019/07/the-4-things-resilient-teams-do