The core determinant of commercial success, we see amidst our clients, is not having “the idea”. It is not about the actual product, service proposition or, even, the corporate strategy (important as these aspects all are). The difference between companies that succeed and those that fail is whether a high-performing team is in place to execute the plan they have been set.
Let’s linger here for a moment: as it is the core theme of this white paper. Success in business, and many other aspects of life, is all about execution, execution, execution. Yes, you need a sound product and a robust strategy but what takes you from commercial mediocrity to real-world success is the ability to execute. And, the ability to execute is all about high-performing teams.
This is the powerful and universal message. You can see it in macro examples: with, say, Apple’s dominance of the personal technology space, Nike’s domination of the sports apparel market and with the US Navy Seals’ hard won reputation as a world leading counter-terrorism unit. It is as grounded a truth in your working domain also: whatever market you seek to gain, whatever competitors you seek to dominate, this is the nexus of the challenge. Indeed, it goes all the way down to the micro, or personal, reality. Develop a self-aware focus on execution and you will unlock your leadership talents to, in turn, unlock the extraordinary potential of the team around you.
In this context, we have a privileged role. As a function of placing senior talent into leading companies we are often gifted unique access into the dynamics and cultures that make such firms tick. We are also often asked to provide perspectives not just on the individual hire but also with respect to the recipient team. How will this new placement fit in, how will they affect the whole team; fundamentally, will their introduction make the boat move faster?
Naturally, this got us hugely engaged in the topic of high performance teams. To become true leaders in the field of strategic talent advisory services, we knew we had to not only facilitate great hires but also support our clients in the continuous development of high performing teams. This professional curiosity was coincident with the growth of our own business. To maintain our own success and professional enhancement, we needed to ensure that we ‘perpetually’ developed as a team also.
This fixation led eventually to the development of a new service offering in the Perpetual portfolio: the skilled facilitation of high performing team programs. We call it our team-to-togetherness (t3) service. Before we unpack what we mean by this: a word of caution. There is a myriad of service providers in this space: ranging from manifest experts to charlatans (who peddle the latest strained metaphor – often with no experience of having ever piloted a high-performing team themselves). If you seek strategic partners in this area, ask first what experience the facilitators actually have with respect to building and leading successful teams (cf. facilitation and training experience alone). That test passed, ask what methodology sits at the heart of their services. You will, no doubt, receive some pretty slides, and long lists of platitude team attributes. The acid test, however, should be whether their core viewpoint or methodology has thoughtful structure and logic. Has your partner got to the core of what makes great companies hum, are they going to be able to support you as you traverse all the levels of this journey? Or, more likely, are they a proponent of the high-energy, low-content workshop that fires everyone up for a week-or-so but with no discernible long-term change to behaviors and processes?
This white paper demonstrates that Perpetual’s services are founded on proprietary intellectual content. We call it our team-to-togetherness (t3) methodology and we endorse it to you as a structured way to examine how your organization is performing currently.
What does a high performing team look like?
In order to describe a high-performing team model we must, firstly, explore what a high performing team actually looks like, or more aptly, how it behaves. This needs, necessarily, to be done before we can progress to an explanation of how such teams are built.
Most literature on the topic will, at this point of inquiry, resort to an arbitrary list of features. It is our contention that such lists are not particularly instructive. Rather, and especially so as it sits at the core of the team-to-togetherness (t3) model, we need to describe the logical hierarchy of attributes that, in structured totality, equate to a high-performing team. Under invest in the development of one attribute and you remove the foundation of all attributes that derive from it. This will make more sense when we finish describing the model.
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