Clarity & Focus
The combination of purpose and specific goals is essential to performance. Each depends on the other. While the clarity of goals helps keep a team on track and focused for accountability, the broader, overlying aspirations of a team’s purpose can provide meaning and emotional energy.
When people are working together toward a common objective, trust and commitment follow. Members hold themselves responsible both as individuals and as a team for the team’s performance. People who participate in effective teams find the experience energizing and motivating in ways that their usual jobs could never match.
Groups that are established as a “team” but that do not have a clear common purpose rarely become effective teams. Only when appropriate performance goals are set does the process of discussing the goals and the approaches to them give team members a clear choice: they can disagree with a goal and opt out, or they can pitch in and become accountable with and to their teammates.
Though it may seem trivial, establishing mutual accountability can lead to astonishing results. Team members must do more than just listen, respond constructively, and provide support to one another. In addition to sharing these team-building values, they must share an essential discipline.
Katzenbach and Smith highlight five essential disciplines of effective teams:
- A meaningful common purpose that the team has helped shape.
- Specific performance goals that flow from the common purpose.
- Amix of complementary skills.
- A strong commitment to how the work gets done.
- Mutual accountability.
I would add to these essential disciplines: A relentless focus on performance.
This is another area where the mission of the team should be defined and assistance given in the establishment of guidelines for performance.