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6 Elements of High Performing Teams

By Rose Klimovich posted 06-04-2021 11:05


PDMA Body of Knowledge: Culture, Teams & Leadership Insights #1
PDMA Body of Knowledge: Culture, Teams & Leadership Insights #2

Read time:
3 minutes

The kHUB Curator Team members have each been assigned a BoK section to own.  This includes seeking, editing and sharing content related to that section.  The curators are also sharing their perspective of various sub-sections of their chapter and contributing personal examples, experience, or related articles corresponding to the subject matter.


6 Elements of high performing teams

In the PDMA Body of Knowledge, Katzenbach and Smith (1993) defined a team as “a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, set of performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.” Most companies use teams to accomplish important goals. But are your teams performing at their best potential?

According to McKinsey, the value of high-performing teams has long been recognized. It’s why 90% of investors think the quality of the management team is the single most important nonfinancial factor when evaluating an IPO. “No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team,” is the way Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn cofounder, sums it up. Basketball legend Michael Jordan makes the same point: “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” (1)

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. (3) The survey points out that several areas including team size, communications and performance management are important to how teams perform. However, they also found many teams not performing at full potential. 

Here are 6 key factors in developing high performance teams:

  1. Right team size: Smaller teams perform better than larger teams. Smaller teams tend to communicate better and be more cohesive.
  2. Effective Communication: The trait that high-performing teams utilize most to outperform average teams is effective communication. Communication is really very complicated and is both about being clear, relevant and complete in what is communicated and ensuring that meaning is understood by others on the team.
  3. Clear performance management: People need to know how they will be rewarded. Almost half of underperforming teams (49%) recognize they need to pay more attention to the measurement process and secure more measurement data, while three in 10 senior executives admit they need more team performance measurement tools.
  4. Strong team members and team composition: A team is only as strong as its members. Team members need the right skill sets, diverse backgrounds and relevant experience. If a key skill set is missing a team is less likely to succeed.
  5. Management Support:
    1. Teams need good, well defined, compelling direction and clear milestones. Teams need a sense of purpose. Goals need to be as specific as possible, so the team knows what is expected of them. It is also important that the goals are shared by all the team members.
    2. People on teams may come from different parts of an organization. It is important that people on the team feel their organization supports the team’s goals and activities.
  6. Effective team dynamics: How the team operates together can make all the difference. The best teams demonstrate a shared mindset and a sense of camaraderie and togetherness. Team norms should help the team succeed. Teams need effective processes and ways of communicating and resolving conflict. Team members need to trust each other and have a constructive atmosphere with mutual respect and open communication.

Getting the most from teams is an important goal of most organizations. Putting more effort into teams and how they operate can result in big dividends. 

About the Author

Rose Klimovich 

Rose Klimovich is Visiting Professor of Marketing and Management at Manhattan College in New York. She is also a Digital Marketing and Strategy consultant to small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Formerly, as the Vice President – Product Management and Product Marketing for Telx, Rose Klimovich created the Telx business strategy and developed the investment plan for new products and services in areas including colocation, cloud, Ethernet, and video conferencing. Rose’s team supported vertical markets including Financial Services, Media and Service Providers.

Prior to this, Rose was the Vice President of Business Strategy for AT&T, responsible for strategy development and investment decisions in new markets and technologies. Rose has more than 20 years of experience and achievement in designing, scaling and managing Internet, VPN and data businesses. Rose led AT&T to the #1 share position in VPN and to a leadership position in Internet Services.

Rose has an MBA and a BS in Math/Economics from Carnegie-Mellon University. Rose is Joint Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Women’s Venture Fund.

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