Building a High Performing Team

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Fri. 15th July 2016.

Have you ever been in any of these situations, or are you in one of them now?

  • One of your key team leaders has moved on.
  • A significant number of your team members have left.
  • You unexpectedly have to create and build a team, with only a short time to do so.
  • You’re changing roles and have to form a relationship and build credibility with an already established team and help its members develop.
  • You’re asked to join a team that you weren’t expecting to be part of.
  • You have to form a new team to deliver a project or contract that you never expected to win.
  • You’ve got to refocus and redevelop your team so you can challenge your competitors more effectively.
  • Your business is in a political or economic environment that in is uncertain or changing and you need to respond.

Does any of this sound familiar? 

What you need to do is to build and develop a high performing team. Using a structured framework to do this can help you to consider all the key elements needed. This will give you the best opportunity for your team to be high performing and for you to be an effective leader and member of that team.

The foundation for the team should be a clear, well understood and shared purpose or delivery challenge. Why does the team exist? What does the team have to deliver? What problems are the team expected to solve?

The structure of the team, the roles within that structure, and the accountabilities of those roles, should be defined. These must be focused on the delivery of the team’s purpose or challenge. The technical skills (the ‘hard’ skills) and the behavioural competencies (the ‘soft’ skills) required by each role and those required across all team members should also be identified.

Team and individual goals need to be set which will allow progress towards the purpose of the team and successful delivery of the challenge. Identify some relevant Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) which will allow you to monitor, measure and communicate the team’s progress across the team members. These KPIs can also be used to communicate the team’s progress and results externally to stakeholders.

Team members must understand each other’s preferred style and ways of working. There’s no right or wrong, better or worse preference. People are different and the team should value and exploit those differences, and play to the strengths that different styles and preferences bring.

The team needs to define its processes and ways of working. These should cover areas such as how and what the team members will communicate internally and externally, the meetings the team will have and how they will run, how the team will make decisions, how they will resolve any conflicts, and how they will celebrate successes.

It’s also key that the team considers how it will capture and share knowledge, learning and experience across team members. Where relevant, this knowledge and experience should be shared across the organisation to improve performance more widely.

Team members must be willing to give open and honest feedback to each other. They should have a coaching mindset, with a focus on developing all team members and their skills further. Skill and competency gaps in the team and its members should be recognised and decisions taken on what to do to address the gaps.

Critically, all member of a high performing team must demonstrate leadership and a genuine commitment to the team. They must fully buy-in to, and engage with, the team’s purpose and its delivery challenge and they must put the team’s needs above their own personal agenda.

A Team Charter is a great way of capturing all the above aspects into a single document. This document can then be shared across the team, with all members committing to work to the Charter. It also forms a great way of introducing new members into the team, inducting them and engaging them with how the team operates.

These principles apply to any type of team – for example, a senior management team, a project team or a team that works together on an on-going day-to-day basis. They are also relevant to teams in any type of business or organisation, in any sector, whether that’s manufacturing, engineering, professional service providers, retail, creatives, education providers, charities, and so on.

So get in touch if you need, and want, to work on these areas. I can help to start up and build a new team, develop an existing team whose performance isn’t where it needs to be, and to produce a Team Charter to capture how a team will operate and move to becoming a high performing team.



Is your business built on a solid foundation?

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Thu. 7th July 2016.

There’s a fair amount of uncertainty around at the moment, and it’s likely to be that way for some time.

Your business must be agile and responsive to changing situations, but must have a solid and consistent foundation to build on. Your business needs a clear purpose, a clear vision and an underpinning set of values on which to base its work, its development and its growth. Once you have that strong base you can develop and shape your strategy around it to enable you to move towards delivering your purpose and your vision. To stay competitive, your strategy and approach may need to vary as the business environment and political climate changes, your customers’ needs change and as your business grows.

So does your business have a solid foundation of purpose, vision and values? Are you regularly reviewing your strategy to ensure you stay competitive?

If you’ve not got a clear purpose, vision and set of values for your business then I can work with you to define and develop those areas and then engage your people with them.

When you have that clear direction, I can help you and your team to review, refine or redefine your strategy and approach to cope with change and uncertainty.

Get in touch to arrange a discussion about how I could help you to start to future-proof your business.

Time for Growth - The newsletter from AWD Development Solutions Ltd

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Tue. 5th July 2016.

Welcome to my newsletter structured on elements of my Time for Growth offering. Time for Growth is a practical development approach that helps individuals at any stage in their career, sole traders and owners of small businesses to develop themselves and their people so they build their personal and business success. It helps them to manage themselves, their work, and their people, more effectively. They become more productive so they save themselves time and grow themselves and their business. I hope you take something useful away from it.


Managing your work – Some questions about time management

The most common thing I hear from sole traders and owners of small businesses is that they don’t have enough time to do everything they need to. So here are ten questions to ask yourself which may help you begin to use your time more effectively. Be honest with your answers.

  • Am I disorganised?
  • Do I take enough time to plan how I use my time?
  • Do I have problems saying no to people and therefore take on too much?
  • Do I get distracted by looking at personal social media, emails, etc. when I’m working?
  • Do I know how much my time is worth?
  • Do I know how much time I spend on distractions during my day rather than work that helps my business?
  • Do I need too much information and take too long to make a decision?
  • Do I have difficulty closing off conversations and politely moving on?
  • Do I skip from activity to activity without finishing anything?
  • Do I set priorities?


Managing your people – A few thoughts on delegation

As your business grows, you may get to the point where you recruit some employees. You might not have managed people before and because of the time and emotional investment you’ve made in getting your business to where it is, you may find it a bit difficult to let go. But unless you can delegate effectively you’ll never have the time to work on the tasks you really need to do.

When you delegate a task, consider these few simple points:

  • If you have a choice, think who would benefit most from the opportunity for the new responsibility.
  • Don’t just delegate routine tasks. Delegate important tasks so people see that you trust them.
  • Make it clear what the expected results needed from the task are, and the timescales – set objectives.
  • Check that the responsibility and task is clear to your team member and they feel capable to deliver it.
  • Give your team member the freedom to decide how to achieve the task – don’t tell them how you would do it.
  • Be available to guide, support, coach and help them if they get stuck.
  • Keep in touch as to how the task is progressing and provide constructive feedback.

If you delegate effectively, not only does it save your time but it can enhance the job satisfaction of your employees, increase their motivation and engagement, and help them develop.


A couple of recommendations

Here’s a great TED talk video on body language by Amy Cuddy.

Simon Sinek has a TED talk on ‘Start with Why’ but his book is also definitely worth a read. Having a clear view of WHY you do what you do – what’s your purpose – can give you real focus. I set up AWD Development Solutions to have a ‘big why’ of GROWTH. I want to help people grow and develop themselves so they can grow their business.


Continuing Professional Development workshop review

I recently ran a free Continuing Professional Development workshop for the local branch of a professional institute. During the workshop, participants had the opportunity to start to build their own development plan and think about how they were going to meet their development needs. The session was really well received and the average evaluation rating was 91%.

A few of the comments given on the evaluation forms were:

“Andrew’s CPD workshop was interesting, engaging and highly relevant to the requirements of my professional institute. I have a clear plan now of what I need to do to move forward.”

“A very useful workshop, thank you.”

“I found it really useful for focusing on goals I had already set but didn’t have a proper plan in place to achieve.”


Contact me to see how I can help you develop and grow your business

If you want to manage yourself, your work, and your people more effectively then contact me to talk about how I could help you to develop and grow yourself, your people and your business.

If you, your clients, your networking group, or your professional institute would like a talk or workshop on a personal or employee development, high performing team building, or a change management based topic then please get in touch.

Call me on 07769 726556 or email me at