High Performance Teams Drive Change

High Performance Teams are Essential to Success. Research by the Center for Creative Leadership shows high performance teams achieve results that drive successful change. Outstanding organizations train employees to adopt a team philosophy that goes beyond just being a work group. They develop high performance teams that drive bottom line results. However, research shows:

many teams are not functioning at their highest potential. There is room for growth and improvement. That is why the role of the team leader is so important in building high performance teams

Team Leaders Build High Performace Teams

To create high performance team leaders provide workshops that allow hands on experience. In a safe yet challenging environment, particpants develop teams to their highest potential. Whether they lead a team or share leadership responsbility as a team member--participants learn how to function as a high performance team. They adopt a team philosophy and identify strengths and opportunities for developing strong team effectiveness.

Strategies to Build High Performance Teams

Our research since 1985 has determined four best practice strategies. They incorporate characteristics and behaviors that build high performance teams. These strategies include:

  • Collective Purpose—shared vision of mission, purpose and team objective
  • Shared Responsibility—understands role, responsibilities and right action
  • Strong Communication Links—communicates within and across teams
  • Shared Performance—achieves a high level of performance goals and accountability

A Shared Vision That Builds High Performance Teams

Without a shared vision teams become unfocused and lose direction. This first strategy helps team members have a shared understanding of their mission. Every team member works toward a vision which they can easily see and describe; they each have:

  • vision
  • purpose
  • objectives

High Performance Teams Take Right Action

The second strategy ensures every team member knows their role. They are properly trained to do their job effectively. Without clear roles and responsbilities employees prioritize tasks based on what they like to do, rather than on what needs to be done. But with shared responsibility for taking right action, and follow through, projects get completed on time:

  • on time
  • within budget
  • and with a shared sense of accomplishment.

Building strong communication links within and across teams is vital to high performing teams. Without this strategy, managers from different teams waste time, energy and resources building the same wheel. By collaborating with other teams, however, high performing teams build:

  • team synergy that creates clear processes
  • ensures success of the overall mission of the organization


The fourth strategy builds high performance teams that strive to achieve high performance. Team members understand they accomplish more as a team than as individuals. They push themselves to:

  • achieve more because they share common performance goals
  • and accountability for achieving goals
High Performing Teams After Action Review

After Action Review is one of the most important parts of building a high perfornmance team. Keeping the team at its optimal level of engagement is an ongoing process. Just one employee leaving or joining can create a disruption if not handled properly. The best way to make sure a high performance team remains at its optimal level is to:

conduct after action team reviews on a regular basis.

Together team members identify what worked well and what areas can be improved. Once improvements are identified, the team creates an action plan.

These improvements may include changes in team or individual work processes, procedures or operating agreements.

Finally check with customers to ensure their needs and expectations are exceeded or met. For a high performance team leader, that means checking in with their team members; when they are engaged, inspired and motivated to take responsibility and take right action; the external customer will always benefit.