Organization Development Network of Western New York

10 Team Dynamics all High Performing Teams Share


In a meeting a Senior Manager chose to quote Tolstoy ‘Anna Karenina’ about the challenge with getting teams to be productive and happy.  He only chose to use the last half of the quote … every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

Being the nerd I am, I realized that he was cherry picking the part of the quote that fit his perception of the problem…Kindly I reminded him of the whole quote.

"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." – Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

I believe the same thing with teams.

"Happy teams are all alike; every unhappy team is unhappy in its own way."

We know what it takes to develop happy productive teams.

Thinking about organization development and team development as a world where there is a great deal of knowledge about “what works”.  The fun and challenging part is how to apply the what-works in the teams context to ensure that it works for them and that you as the consultant or facilitator are not just using a tool or method because you are comfortable with it.

Below and in the slideshare above are

10 Team Dynamics all High Performing Teams Share

1. Identify a Leader – a common mistake teams make is the failure to recognize that any team endeavor a leader must either be identified or emerge. Teams must have leadership. Two key leader roles are required for a project team. One is the strategic leader and the other is the team leader.

2. Establish roles & responsibilities + discuss what each person ‘brings to the table’ – Understanding the various roles and responsibilities of the team is critical to success. Additionally taking time to know expertise and special interests of team members will allow people to me matched to their capacity to complete the project tasks, as they are assigned.

3. Establish a set of goals & objectives – in any team recognition and understanding of the goal is paramount. All organizations have long term goals, project teams must set technical and process goals as part of their work.

4. Establish an agenda for managing time to complete the task/meeting – Teams that do better at managing their time achieve better results. The concept of agendas is critical to better time management, whether the application of the concept is focused on project team work or meetings in general.

5. Establish a method to determine how they will reach agreement – Everyday people make decisions quickly from what to wear to what to have for breakfast, individuals use rational (and sometimes irrational) methods to make a decision. However when two or more people (any team, committee) attempt to make the simplest decision chaos results.

6. Establish ground rules for their meetings – “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” As it relates to teams, no truer words apply. When teams meet, there should be a set of standards that establish how team members will behave toward one another. This is not just a way to ensure courtesy to one another, but also that the teams’ time together ends up being used effectively and efficiently.

7. Proper & timely use of quality tools – Teams must all have knowledge and accessibility to utilize and comprehend the quality tools that teams’ need for project success.

8. Maladaptive behaviors are properly dealt with immediately and have consequences – No matter how well a team prepares for maladaptive behavior and attempts to prevent it, such behavior will occur. This is especially true to teams! When these maladaptive behaviors are ignored and left to fester, they are like a dead body left to rot in the living room. It looks gross, it stinks, and no one wants to deal with it.

9. Ability to get started on task/project quickly – Teams waste a lot of time before the actual work gets done. Higher results in project teams can come in the initial phase when the project teams have expertise in project management skills.

10. Ability to state what is working and how to improve – Teams need an Understanding that problems DON’T equal solutions; Solutions = Solutions. Teams must quickly acknowledge that a problem exists then work to determine what will take the place of the problem, how the solution will function and work. Teams that can quickly create ‘what they want’ as opposed to ‘what they don’t want’ get work done and implement this process into the team Skilled-Knowledge.


What do you think?

Would like to hear your thoughts and what high performing teams have in common?

michael cardus is create-learning


2 Responses

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  1. […] Below is a short piece of an article I wrote for the Organization Development Network of Western New York… You can read the entire article here […]

  2. Albert Mensah said, on November 14, 2013 at 4:21 am

    I would like to get some information about the organization.

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