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High Performance Teams
The high performance team is the unit of effectiveness for the high performance enterprise. Topics include kickstarting a brand new team, the intensity and focus of 'hot groups,' team building success strategies, and team process management.
       
             
   
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Sir CEO and the Green Knight
by Stephen Balzac

In the end, the ability to give people the freedom to work as they would like to work comes from building the structure to enable them to know what to do. Without structure, there may a lot of motion, but very little progress. What will you do to change that?

Leading High Impact Teams
by Cynder Niemela

Here is a compilation of earlier articles by Cynder Niemela, based on her excellent, award winning book: Leading High Impact Teams: The Coach Approach to Peak Performance. (ed.)

A Tale of Two Light Bulbs
by Stephen Balzac

Had my friend called an electrician, he would have saved himself a great deal of time and aggravation and illuminated the room much more quickly. Instead, he was stuck until he accidently hit on a solution. How often do business problems get dealt with that way?

The Engines Cannae Take Much More…
by Stephen Balzac

Helping people to become more knowledgeable about one another’s jobs is important. If you understand just a little about what other people are doing, you have a much better sense of what is a reasonable request and what is not, what you can do that will help them accomplish their jobs, and what you can do to help them to help you do your job.

Of Deck Chairs and Ocean Liners
by Stephen Balzac

Before you can set goals, you have to know what the problem is that you are trying to solve. That means first separating the symptoms of the problem from the problem itself. The symptoms are only symptoms; frequently, they can point to many possible problems. What are you doing to make sure that you are not rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic?

When The Fat Tuesday Sings
by Stephen Balzac

In a business, the tendency is to apply expert opinion and previous experience to many situations. A break in similarity, however, is a clue that something major may have changed. It is a clue that the previous situation and, therefore, opinions and judgments based on that previous situation, may not apply. When that happens, it’s critical to recognize the change and be willing to disregard all of our expert judgments in favor of a slower, more careful evaluation.

Lessons in Teamwork from the SF Giants
by Mike Robbins
I have been so excited and inspired by this year's baseball post-season and the big World Series victory by the San Francisco Giants.  As a Bay Area native, a lifelong baseball fan, and someone who has been fortunate enough to have the Giants as a client this year, of course I was rooting for them with passion. Here are a few lessons about teamwork we can all learn from the magic of the 2010 San Francisco Giants.

Put The Candle Back
by Stephen Balzac

The experience of changing something in one part of the business causing an apparently unpredictable reaction in another part of the business is, sadly, far too common. How information moves through the system varies according to the roles people play, the way communication is handled, and the unwritten, implicit assumptions that people make.

A Perfect Solution
by Stephen Balzac

The “perfect” solution to a problem varies greatly depending on whether you happen to be the person designing and building the product, the person selling the product, or the person using the product. Seems obvious, right? Despite being obvious, however, the problem keeps recurring. But sometimes, there really is a perfect solution.

Top Ten Survival Tips for Remote Work Teams
by Michael Leimbach, Ph. D. and Carl Eidson, Ph.D., Wilson Learning

As companies search for more productive and more cost effective ways of getting work accomplished, there has been an explosion of virtual work and project teams. As a result, it has become imperative for people to learn how to work together across boundaries of space, time, and yes, cultures. Here is a “Top Ten” list of strategies that will help your virtual teams perform at the highest possible level.

Where There Is Nothing
by Stephen Balzac

The NY Times article, “Driven to Distraction” discussed the practice of turning cars into mobile offices. The dangers of this practice I will leave to others to debate, although I will mention that the Car Talk Guys are definitely Not Happy about it. What I found particularly fascinating in reading this article was the justifications that managers and senior executives were giving for staying connected all the time.

Déjà vu All Over Again
by Stephen Balzac

Why do the same issues keep coming up over and over again in meetings? Why is it that some things never get resolved while other issues that have apparently been resolved keep returning from the grave? Perhaps more to the point, what can be done about it?

Leading Effectively from a Distance: Six Things Managers Need to Know
by Carl Eidson, Ph.D., Vice President, Wilson Learning

While many of the same management practices that are effective with co-located teams can be applied to virtual teams, some important adaptations need to be made to address the unique challenges faced by teams working together virtually. Managers facing these challenges should consider these six strategies.

Who Is In Charge Here?
by Stephen Balzac

The leader who has to constantly tell people what to do is not doing a good job of leading. The leader who has to get out of the way so that his team doesn’t run over him in their rush to accomplish the goals of the team is the true successful leader. What sort of leaders do you have in your organization?

Growing Wheat in Siberia
by Stephen Balzac

As the Soviet Union discovered when they tried to grow wheat in Siberia, the way the world actually works has an unfortunate habit of trumping the way they thought the world should work. Similarly, how people actually work wins out over how one might wish people should work. Taking advantage of the former may appear more difficult in the short-term, but over the long haul, is far easier than trying to grow Siberian wheat.

Slip Slidin’ Away
by Stephen Balzac

The great benefit of teams is that they provide a variety of skills and perspectives. The great weakness of teams is that they provide a variety of skills and perspectives. In order to reap the benefits of having a team, the members of the team need to learn to work together. This involves more than just agreeing on a set of goals, especially since agreement on goals is difficult to get when team members cannot even agree on how to work together.

The Team Approach to Building Work Group Effectiveness
by John N. Younker, Ph.D.

Too often team building is one of those vague, misused terms managers call into play as a panacea for sluggish work unit performance. The building of a team requires a great deal more effort than simply recognizing the interdependence among workers and work units. It requires, instead, several carefully managed steps and is an ongoing cyclical process.

High Performing Teams
by Paul B. Thornton

Team leaders must use the appropriate management style to help the team consistently achieve its best performance.

United We Stand . . . Divided We Fall
by Gregory P. Smith

In a rapidly changing world that values technology, speed, and flexibility, teamwork unites individual efforts and is key for success, innovation, and creativity.

Leadership Strategies to Address Today's Most Common Team Building Problems
by Gayle Lantz

Here are some of the most common impediments to team success and ways to overcome them.

Cost-Effective Team Building Exercises
by Jim Jenkins

Instead of trying to design a team building exercise where people play games or climb rocks to develop team spirit, explore fun, cost-effective ways to engage your team.

The True Meaning of Teamwork
by Sloan Campbell

How do we consistently achieve the type of teamwork where all team members feel the same way about a goal or a mission, they work towards that end and it comes naturally … in business?

Reach it Out! How Racing a Dragon Boat can Improve Teamwork
by Sid Smith

The same principles that make a sports team win apply to any business team, and that's where Dragon Boat racing comes in. More than simple physical strength, successful teams have three things going for them.

Eight Ways to Motivate Your Team
by Cheryl Cran
A team's performance is a direct reflection of the leader who leads them. Ouch! Think about it … people within a team will only perform to the level that they see rewarded or to the level that their leader brings to the table.

Why Some Teams Never Measure Up
by Steve Coats
Don't fall into the too common trap of focusing solely on the work to be done and avoiding the dynamics encircling the team itself. It might feel more comfortable, but your collective team will ever achieve what you are truly capable of.

Collaborating To Win As A Virtual Team
by Susan Schwartz
How can managers in today’s cross-functional matrix reporting structures extend organizational links to increase knowledge sharing opportunities and minimize workgroup isolation? The technology is available – how do we get people to adapt their work styles to communicate across time and distance?

Virtual Teams - Creating a Global Explosion of Productivity and Profits
by Susan Schwartz

How does a manager break out of a "central core group" mindset and begin to create a productive, profitable virtual team?

Leveraging Cross-Functional/Cross-Cultural Collaborative Assets: Distance, Time Zone, and Culture
by Susan Schwartz

Virtual collaboration is becoming a standard skill requirement. So, how can organizations and individuals overcome the challenges of cultural barriers, silo-based functions, and distance to become a cohesive, goal-achieving team?

Weathering Storms - When Conflict Engulfs the High Impact Team
by Cynder Niemela

Conflict often arises from differences in values, beliefs, personality, opinions and work and communication style. That is why high impact teams should include a method for ironing out conflict in their working agreements.

Book Summary: The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork
by Regine P. Azurin and Yvette Pantilla
John C. Maxwell, author of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership offers 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork to empower your team to great performance.

Leading High Impact Teams: Coping with Uncertainty
by Cynder Niemela and Rachael Lewis
Here are several practical "to dos" from Leading High Impact Teams: The Coach Approach to Peak Performance to help cope with uncertainty in these troubled times.

Why Distinguishing Teams from Work Groups is Critical to Any Team Development Effort
by Marie J. Kane
Before you embark on any kind of team development, it is critical that you understand the implications of the differences between teams and work groups. Then the group can proceed with appropriate planning for its own development in concert with what the organization needs it to be.

Emotionally Intelligent Teams
by Anne Riches
If you take a number of emotionally intelligent individuals and put them together, do you get an emotionally intelligent team?

Hot Groups
by Rick Sidorowicz
What is at the core of the intensity, focus, and total preoccupation of  'hot groups' with the task at hand? A refresher from the archives.

Team Building
by Martien Eerhart
If you want to win, you've got be a team player.  Team building success strategies.

Teambuilding - Keep it Simple!
by Rick Sidorowicz
Try on this very simple set of groundrules for team management and leadership for performance and results - and keep it simple!

A New Team Development Model
by Rick Sidorowicz
A 'refresher' from Richard Beckard's Organization Development - Strategies and Tactics.

Related Topics: Coaching | Leading Change | Project Management

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