High Performance Team Essay

It takes a lot of time and effort to make a high-performance team out of a group of people. All people are different, possessing different character traits, interests and likings, thus it is not easy to create a team that will work like a single mechanism, performing simultaneous actions of all of its members.

The main goal of the current paper is to speak about ways how a group can become a high-performance team. While speaking about HPT (high-performance team), it will also analyze certain demographic characteristics and impact of cultural diversity that contribute, or detract from high-performance teams.

Before speaking about factors that influence the transformation of a group into high performance team it is necessary to define both terms. A group is a number of people (members) that are treated as one unit, while a team is a group of people who work together with a common goal and perform certain functions for the benefit of every member. As for HPT, it is necessary to emphasize, that this kind of teams work very effectively and represent “groups of people that achieve a quantum leap in performance in less than a year” [1]. High-performance teams can usually be found at various organizations and companies, which have been rather successful in business. In order to build up a team, it is necessary to set the goals for the team and define “the scope and boundaries in which the team will operate” [3].

The key elements that are necessary for the creation of any team include several individuals willing to participate in team’s activities, common purpose, time, money and efforts from the side of every member. However, these elements are not enough while building a high performing team. The members of a high-performance team should possess a common vision and be focused on the same objectives. The members of HPT should be inspired by the common vision and put all their efforts into working towards it. HPT must work time-wisely and complete all tasks by the end of set deadlines; this will keep team’s members interested in finding quicker and more effective ways of operation. Another key element of a high-performance team is communication. All team members should be equally informed to reach success. The results of the team’s work should be constantly reviewed, and the quality of team’s cooperative work must be always reviewed in order to determine whether there is a possibility to improve it. Among the most important elements of a high-performance team is equal participation of all members, because “every team member has a unique insight or contribution it can make towards team goal achievement” [3]. All members are responsible for the success or failing of the team, thus, every member should be active.

There are no constant leaders in a high-performance team. When the goal is announced it is up to all members to decide how it could be achieved, and no one can dictate how the team should operate. And the last element is the celebration of success. Because all members of HPT participate in team’s activity, all of them should also participate in the celebration of success. This will raise team’s morale and “increase the team’s determination to achieve the ultimate goal” [3].

Usual teams are created in order to conduct decision-making process, however, high-performance teams not only decide what should be done next and in what way, but they also take part in direct implementation of the plan developed by the team.

Having spoken about the key elements leading to the success of high performing team, it is important to note, that there are some other factors influencing the activity of team. These factors include demographic characteristics and cultural diversity inside the team. Such demographic characteristics as gender, age, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation play a great role while building a HPT. According to the demographic description of the team it is possible to identify two types of teams, which are homogeneous and heterogeneous teams. Homogeneous teams consist of people of similar age, race, and culture, while heterogeneous teams include people of different age, race, ethnicity, and religious and cultural backgrounds. Because of differences in demographic characteristics and culture of members, different teams will work differently. Members of homogeneous teams are more likely to find common language faster than those of a heterogeneous team. Homogeneous teams rarely experience conflicts inside the team; however, the work of such teams appears to be less efficient, which can be explained by the lack of diversity inside the team. People of the same age, race, culture, and religion share similar opinions and visions, that’s why it is easier for them to work out a plan for future actions, while people of different age, race, culture, and religions possess different opinions and are more likely to come up with various plans out which one best will be chosen. Demographic and cultural characteristics have both positive and negative impact on high-performance teams. They can detract from high-performance teams by creating misunderstandings and conflicts between team members based on demographic and cultural diversity; that’s why teams comprised of members of different age, race and culture usually need more time to be built up. However, after getting used to these differences such teams appear to be more effective in terms of creativity, flexibility, and ability to find different solutions and methods. It is very important for all members of a team to be tolerant and respectful while learning about each other, otherwise demographic and cultural diversity will hinder the formation of a high-performance team.

As it has been spoken about high-performance teams and factors influencing the creation of such teams it is necessary to make a conclusion. High-performance teams appear to be an essential tool of any company leading the letter to success. Though it takes a lot of time and effort to create a HPT, all companies should try to create such teams, because they bring much more benefit while completing various tasks. As it has been mentioned above, a team is a group of people, and since all people are different it is very important to set common goals and develop a certain plan according to which all members of a team will work despite any demographic or cultural differences.

Hanlan, Marc. High Performance Teams: How to Make Them Work. Praeger, 2004
Katzenbach, Jon R. The Wisdom of Teams: Creating the High-Performance Organization. Harperbusiness, 1994
High Performance Teams http://highperformanceteams.org

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