Agile high performing teams improve the bottom line

Silo mentality affects many organisations, no matter what their size. It fragments the business, disconnects decisions and impacts results.

On the other hand, leaders with a clear vision, the ability to inspire their teams with a compelling story thrive. The best leaders also communicate their goals, collaborate and have the discipline to hold people to account.

Written by: Diane Wilkinson Photography by: Emma Shipperley

Balancing task and behaviour

Most organisations hold regular meetings to evaluate targets. They understand what they do, but they rarely examine how they do it. When was the last time your organisation asked itself: “How are we behaving together?”

Goal clarity is a key feature of high performing teams, but it is not enough. These teams also give – and request – feedback on how they work. Teams that balance “what” and “how” in meetings, and hold regular 1:1 reviews, become high performers faster.

Diane Wilkinson’s Agile High Performing Team model lets teams push the pause button and reflect. “We review both tasks and how people behave as a team,” she says. “When departments work in silos, interfaces are forgotten. Exploring what departments need from, and can offer each other is vital to lift performance.”

Highly interactive and results-driven team development days provide executives with ‘time out’, allowing senior leaders the opportunity to explore their goals and how they behave together.

“We’ve all got bags of experience. Why aren’t we pulling together as a team?” is a typical realisation as leaders work with Diane to uncover blockages in team performance. These discussions help clarify strategies for more effective collaboration and holding each other to account.

An Audi head of business recently expressed how valuable his team development session was. “Days like this are vital, as too often we are focussed on our operational duties. This team session will have a long-lasting effect on improving behaviour, attitude and culture in our business.”

Connecting to excellence

“Team events are creative and interactive,” Diane says. “Leaders discover how to improve profitability because they’re now working in synch and listening to each other.”

Her flexible team development sessions begin by exploring how people tick. “People learn to stop bashing their head against a brick wall. They see that changing how they behave could deliver better results,” she says. “Sometimes the grit in the oyster can become a pearl.”

A head of business in the automotive industry says, “I gained a far better understanding of how I need to change my approach with different people to get the best out of them”.

“These team events often kick-start a team’s growth journey. Once the team connects to excellence – within themselves and together – it becomes a more agile and high performing,” Diane says.

“People learn to stop bashing their head against a brick wall. They see that changing how they behave could deliver better results”

A synchronised, aligned approach

Diane’s experience covers many industries: automotive, pharmaceutical, healthcare, construction and third sector. “Silo mentality is so common,” she says. “The interface between departments is the crucial piece to explore.”

One global car dealership brand manager says, “As senior management, we often work within our own departments. Our team day made us realise this and discover how much better we could work if we were more in sync with each other.”

Her team-based approach can also cascade across an entire organisation. The process starts with senior executives, runs through their teams and on to front line leaders. Everyone uses the same structured feedback frameworks and unemotive language, this helps people to see what they need to change in order to deliver consistent results.

Once the senior leadership team is both high performing and agile, everything flows more smoothly. “With a synchronised approach and aligned thinking, roles are clearer and people’s goals more likely to be achieved,” Diane says.

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