High
Performance
Report

New research across thousands of teams discovers that engaged teams are the key to high performance organisations.

HIGH PEFORMANCE?
YOU MUST BE KIDDING, RIGHT?

We know the challenges keep coming. From the pandemic to the recession, inflation, high staff turnover, supply chain issues and more. You'd be forgiven for wanting to stay in bed!

It's meant that leaders have found themselves becoming reactive to the most urgent fire, instead of proactively leading towards strategic goals. And who could blame them? When the pandemic first hit, long term goals seemed impossible when we couldn't plan for a week let alone a year.

Illustration of a stressed woman and man working on their laptops.
Photo of Ben Smit.

"Despite the obstacles, some leaders are driving their organisations forward. We analysed tens of thousands of employees across thousands of teams to understand what makes an organisation successful, even through challenging times."

Ben Smit

Teamgage CEO & Co-Founder

WHAT DID WE FIND?
THE TRAITS OF HIGH PEFORMING TEAMS

We found that engaged teams are critical for success and they all have the following characteristics:

  1. Keep great people
  2. Embrace (strategic) change
  3. Create good rhythms by design

👀 Let's look at these in detail.

Illustration of a team of people clapping and shaking hands.

HIGH PERFORMING TEAMS

1. KEEP GREAT PEOPLE

While organisations the world over were grappling with high staff turnover, high performing groups stayed together. In fact, the highest performing groups we analysed had up to 60% lower employee turnover than the average.

How? Well, that came down to the rest of the characteristics below.

60%

High performing teams had up to 60%
lower employee turnover than the average.

HIGH PERFORMING TEAMS

2. DO IT TOGETHER

The biggest factor that stood out in our analysis was the role of a team member and a team leader.

Teams that met regularly to discuss critical issues (more on that later) improved their performance at a rate 4.7x higher than those that didn’t. The highest performing teams had 39% more discussions about their results!

4.7x

Teams that met regularly to discuss critical issues improved performance at a rate 4.7x higher than those that didn’t.

HIGH PERFORMING TEAMS

3. FOCUS ON WHAT'S IMPORTANT

Another stand out characteristic of high performing teams is what they measure and focus on. While mediocre organisations focus on generic employee engagement factors, high performing organisations focus on metrics that align with their mission and purpose, and specifically metrics that allows teams to come together and actually make a contribution.

In this way they create an environment where improvement is both top down and bottom up, allowing teams to drive positive change and remove their own barriers to performance.

Illustration of a team of employees chatting on a video call.

HIGH PERFORMING TEAMS

4. EXPERIMENT AND TAKE ACTION

Improving requires change and high performing groups look to drive change internally.

Rather than committing to slow, expensive changes, they reduce risk by implementing a smaller (and often non-scalable) version of change to see whether the idea was worth pursuing. They then double down on what works, and discard what doesn’t.

44.7%

High performing teams recorded 44.7% more actions than the average team.

HIGH PERFORMING TEAMS

5. EMBRACE (STRATEGIC) CHANGE

High performing teams understand that change is a mandatory part of existing. Rather than running from change, they seek to maximise the value of change and opportunity. This was demonstrated in the groups that showed the highest improvements. These teams created 1.7x the number of change actions than the low improvement teams did.  

That doesn’t mean high performing teams change all the time. It means they understand the value of change when it aligns to the strategic goals of the group. This requires developing a culture that embraces strategic change and working to reduce the natural human resistance to change.

Illustration of two employees working on their laptop creating actions.

HIGH PERFORMING TEAMS

6. CREATE GOOD RHYTHMS BY DESIGN

High performing teams don’t communicate by accident, they communicate by design. In fact, high performing teams design a rhythm for reviewing their results, creating actions and reviewing again, with checkpoints in between.

In the groups we studied, this “communication by design” approach led to 73% more participation from team members in the improvement process.

73%

“Communication by design” leads to 73% more participation from team members in the improvement process.

Photo of Ben Smit.

"During our conversations with Senior Leaders, we could clearly sense an appetite to navigate back to high performance, even amid the turmoil and chaos. The obvious question that kept coming up was how?"

Ben Smit

Teamgage CEO & Co-Founder

5 actions to take to navigate back to high performance

So how can you navigate your organisation back to high performance amid turmoil and chaos?
We've put together 5 actions that you can put in place now!

The steps may be simple, but their execution will be the difference between high performance and mediocrity.

ACTIONS TO TAKE

1. CLOSE PERFORMANCE GAPS

  • Communicate regularly
    Team members had the opportunity to communicate regularly.
  • Create a safe environment
    Team members had the opportunity and safety to raise barriers to performance and good ideas.
  • Promote alignment
    Team leaders gave the team cohesion by continuously re-aligning the group to what's important, both in the “why” and the “how”.
    Empower team members
    Team leaders empowered team members to enact change for the good of the group, after they had achieved alignment.
    Take ownership for improvement
    Teams worked hard to improve metrics they could control by measuring what's working and taking action on results.
Illustration of a group of employees chatting both in the office and on a video call.

ACTIONS TO TAKE

2. Don't hide problems FROM THE TEAM

Crucially high performing team leaders know they don’t need to have all the answers or hide problems.

Quite the opposite in fact – a good leader understands that their people will have unique insights into issues like the customer experience, and getting those concepts communicated to the rest of the group and the leader is paramount to success.

ACTIONS TO TAKE

3. combine the potential of the team

As a team grows, the connections between members grows exponentially making misalignment inevitable. Good leaders understand that bringing the group back into alignment ensures autonomous work contribute to the group goals.

Strong leaders understand their primary role is to combine the potential of the team, both in knowledge and ideas, and to bring the group back into alignment early and often.

ACTIONS TO TAKE

4. focus on what's important for the team

High performing teams focused on things that were within their control. They also focused on measuring the inputs that lead to desired outputs rather than just measuring the outputs. For example, measuring happiness goes beyond the scope of what the team can control (and beyond the scope of work entirely for many) but removing blockages and creating an environment of achievement can impact one’s happiness.

Illustration of a man working on charts on his laptop.

Specifically high performing teams focused on:

  • Customer Value
    Are we delivering value to our customers and stakeholders?
  • Teamwork and communication
    Are we working together?
  • Innovation, change, future
    Do we see change as an opportunity?
  • Core values
    Do we live the values that define us?
    Project specifics
    Are we on track, and are we on course correcting as needed?

This allows teams to block out noise, understand what matters and continuously re-align to their focus areas.

ACTIONS TO TAKE

5. continuously engage the team to improve

Engage your teams continuously using the Teamgage methodology.

  1. Define your goals (both as an organisation and as a team)
  2. Identify the measures that will help you achieve those goals
  3. Create a “communication by design” plan
  4. Take action > measure > repeat

The steps are deceivingly simple, but the execution of each of these phases will be the difference between high performance and mediocrity.

Illustration of a man sitting and working on his laptop.
Photo of a woman in an office smiling.

REQUEST A CASE STUDY

Discover how organisations like yours are creating high performing teams with Teamgage.
Just fill out the form to request a case study!

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