Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has been teaching math for over 9 years. Amy has worked with students at all levels from those with special needs to those that are gifted.
A High-Performing Team
Companies that want to create and introduce new and exciting technologies and products to the marketplace need high-performing teams to come together to solve problems. A high-performing team is a team composed of individuals who share a common vision and goal who challenge each other to accomplish great results. A high-performing team has individuals with different strengths. These different strengths work together to achieve the final goal of a great new product or technology.
Let's look into the fictional company, You-Tech Inc. You-Tech Inc. has always released the latest and greatest technologies and gadgets. Their latest release is a weather forecasting umbrella with waterproof fabric that changes patterns based on the weather. This umbrella beeps when the forecast is rain for the day. It only beeps when the owner gets near it. It doesn't beep if a stranger gets near it. People love this feature, as it reminds them to take their umbrellas with them as they leave if rain is forecasted for the day. This product was the result of the company's high-performing team getting together to come up with the idea and then figuring out how to make it.
Now the company is at it again. It is working on a top secret product that will be released next month. With just one month to go, the high-performing team must finish the project and get it produced before the release date. The team has a problem to solve. The top secret product is a dog-walking robot. The product is halfway done. The robot is created, but now they need to figure out how to make the robot programmable so that the robot knows the route it should take and what to watch out for when it is taking the dog out for a walk.
Solving the Problem
One key characteristic of high-performing teams is that they all share one common vision and goal. Everybody on the You-Tech Inc. high-performing team knows that the ultimate goal is to finish the dog-walking robot and to get it produced before the release date next month. Everybody on the team works hard to reach this goal. Everybody shares the same high level of enthusiasm that drives them to work happily at this project until the very end. The meetings the team holds are all productive. No one is asleep or day-dreaming during these meetings. Everybody participates and all the meetings go by quickly. Each person on the team is responsible for his or her specific part of the project. There is no double work. Everyone knows and trusts all the other members that what they are doing is their best.
As you can see, as the weeks pass, the dog-walking robot is taking shape. The team tests the robot and sees that it's working as it should. It then moves to production, and now they have hundreds of robots ready for sale the day before the release date. Hooray!
Problem solving in high-performing teams is very systematic and very organized. There is one clear leader who communicates with all the various smaller teams. Each team is given its own task to complete. The team leader is the one that knows what the project needs and how much more is needed from each team. Once each team is given a task, the task is then divided further so that each team member is given a sub-task that focuses on his or her strengths.
For example, for the dog-walking robot, to finish the project, numerous parts and tasks need to be completed. To make the hands for example, the team needs to make each individual piece of the hand, then it needs to connect all these little pieces so they are able to move about like a real hand. Then it needs to make sure that all these connections are able to connect to the central computing system so the computer can tell the hands how to move. There are numerous parts, and each team member is given a task that each individual is good at. One team member might be given the task of connecting all the parts to the computer because she is good at this level of detail and difficulty.
While it seems like the high-performing team has and will always work smoothly, it doesn't always. The team has its rough days. There are times when team members are annoyed or upset at each other. But, since this is a high-performing team, each team member is taught relationship skills to help them work with the other team members. Each team member knows what to do when he or she gets upset or annoyed. They have been taught skills that allow them to continue to work professionally while resolving the issues. The team gets together at off hours to participate in team-building activities. This way, the team members get to know each other well. Each team member knows the weaknesses and strengths of the other team members. In this way, each team member understands the others and knows how to communicate with the others in such a way so as not to cause annoyances and upsets.
Because high-performing teams work together for extended periods of time, it is important that each member chosen for the team has a personality that allows him or her to work cooperatively with others. Unfortunately, if someone has a great strength but a horrible team attitude, he or she will not be suitable for inclusion in a high-performing team.
Some individuals are willing to take direction and learn how to handle the differences of others. These are the people that are included in high-performing teams. If a misunderstanding arises, these people are willing to learn how to handle similar difficult situations in the future so nobody gets overly upset. There are no concrete steps here as it is different for each person. Each person learns skills differently, and each person may need to learn different skills.
For example, one person might need to learn how to effectively express his concerns in such a way so as not to offend others. In this case, he will need a lesson on communication. Someone on the team might advise him that a good way to express concerns is not to point out the other person's weaknesses but to keep the communication on point and about the issue of concern. Also, it is best to also include a possible solution to the problem that can be agreed to. If no solution is present, then starting a communication about a problem can lead to a frustrating, unproductive discussion that perhaps causes even more tension.
Now, let's review what we've learned. A high-performing team is a team composed of individuals who share a common vision and goal who challenge each other to accomplish great results. A high-performing team will have individuals with different strengths. These different strengths all work together to achieve the final goal of a great new product or technology.
To solve a problem, the team gets together often for meetings to discuss the project and what still needs to be done. All the members of a high-performing team share a common vision or goal. Their meetings are productive with a clear focus and direction. Everybody knows what his or her task is. Each member can be trusted to complete his or her task on schedule. The team knows how to work with each other so as not to let personal annoyances and upsets get in the way. Each member knows how to resolve these issues professionally without taking away time from the project.
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