Top 10 attributes of high performing teams

According to Jon R Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith, “A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, set of performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable”. Teams are the fundamental unit for getting work done in high performing organizations. Success depends largely on the collective contributions of the team members towards a mutually agreed outcome.

10. Depending on the outcome expected from the team, an optimal size with the right mix of complementary skills is important. It will enhance constructive collaboration, communication, and participation from all members. For complex deliverables a size of 6-10 members is optimal.
9. There must be implicit trust amongst members of the team. An environment that fosters dealing with honesty and integrity will nurture great work.
8. The team should feel comfortable in dealing with conflict.
7. Select a deviant on the team to encourage divergent thinking and making the right choices.
6. Well defined, documented, efficient processes shared will ensure the effective utilization of team resources. This addresses “how” work gets done.
5. Members should be held personally accountable, and empowered to hold each other to their commitments.
4. A successful team helps each other achieve ones’ goals in times of crisis.
3. Clear transparent communication is at the core of high performing teams.
2. Leadership is a shared role in high performing teams. The org chart could have a named leader.
1. It is important to have a vision, values, charter, goals, with specific measurable metrics that matter that is embraced in by all members. This addresses the “why” and the “what” aspects of teams.

Reading References – The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
On Teams – Harvard Business Review
The Encyclopedia of Leadership by Murray Hiebert and Bruce Klatt
The Wisdom of Teams by Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith

Update on effective presentations

Thanks to a colleague, I came across this presentation on slideshare that provides lessons from Steve Jobs on building captivating presentations. Jobs was a master at “Keeping it Simple Stupid” that captured the hearts and minds of the masses. Have you seen toddlers that cannot read use the ipad intuitively?
Would encourage you to go through this presentation and learn some of the tips mentioned here when you prepare your next one.
Pay attention to the following:
– Tell a story
– An image is worth a thousand words
– Build on emotions
– Answer the why, how, what

I know the hardest part for me is 30 hours each to craft the story, build and rehearse.

Top 10 tips for conducting effective meetings

During a given day how much time do we spend at meetings? How effective are those meeting in achieving outcomes? Did the meeting make optimal use of the time spent by the participants? To ensure we conduct effective meetings …read on. (in chronological order for relvance)

1. Separate frequent tactical meetings (topics that are short term operational focused) from strategic ones that are less frequent (with topics that have a longer lasting impact).
2. Publish an Agenda organized by importance that clarifies the purpose and measurable outcomes.
3. If relevant, provide reading material ahead of time so the participants can come prepared.
4. Invite participants with the right capabilities to achieve the outcomes.
5. If necessary, assign roles for participants, e.g. scribe, facilitator.
6. Set ground rules agreed by the team, for participation at the meeting.
7. Start and end on time.
8. Encourage disagreement/discussion, challenge participants to innovate, summarize and review decisions.
9. Stick to the Agenda to achieve specified outcomes. Post spontaneous topics on a “Parking Lot” to be addressed during another forum.
10. Publish summarized meeting minutes (preferably in 24 hours), focused on results achieved. Include action items with owners and ETAs (estimated time to accomplish).
Reading References: The Encyclopedia of Leadership by Murray Hiebert and Bruce Klatt;
Death by Meeting by Patrick Lencioni