It’s no secret that one of the biggest workplace trends over recent decades is the marked rise of teamwork. According to a Harvard Business Review study published in 2016, the average employee spends 50 percent more time in collaborative work than two decades ago, and 80 percent of all of their time on the job in collaborative efforts. Deloitte has even defined the organization of the future as “a network of teams” whose operating model is designed to drive greater collaboration and internal agility. Clearly, team success is more important than ever.
This shift means that we also need to reconsider how we think about measuring and improving work performance. As teams replace individuals as the core operating units of performance across organizations of all kinds, it’s worth asking how we can ensure we have the right infrastructure and tracking models in place to assess collaborative performance and drive team success.
The good news is that yes, you can measure team success, and it’s not as hard as you might think. That’s because we know that the success of high performing teams – their ability to perform at a high level consistently over time – essentially boils down to five key attributes, or the main metrics for measuring team success. By understanding and measuring these metrics, leaders can best understand where their team is today, and what steps should be taken to improve their team for the future.
Team Success Relies on Resiliency
Together, these following five attributes add up to resiliency, the holy grail of success in today’s workplace. If your team is strong in all five of these areas, it’s firing on all cylinders:
- Teams that score high on direction have a clarity of purpose that is shared among all of its members. They are all moving in the same direction as a collective unit. They come across as purposeful, priority-minded and collaborative. For a quick pulse on your team’s direction, ask each member to jot down what they see as the team’s shared purpose. Sharing and discussing these responses can help your team sharpen its focus on its mission and get on the same page about what team success looks like.
- Highly connected teams know that they can do more together than they can on their own. They trust one another, have psychological safety and are open to productive conflict. To determine the health of connection on your team, take a closer look at interpersonal behavior. If some team members seem reticent to ask for help, uncomfortable speaking their minds or engaged in passive-aggressive behavior, your team may need help handling conflict productively.
- Adaptable teams share a common understanding of the needs of their internal and external stakeholders, and of the larger organization’s strategy. In addition, they are able to adapt to meet changing needs without drama and are committed to experimentation, continuous learning, and cross-team collaboration. To do this successfully, teams need feedback from other teams. If you aren’t doing so already, ask other teams in your organization how your team can better support them. This is a great chance to get an outside perspective on your team’s performance.
- Teams that shine in the attitude department have team members who bring an optimistic, “can do” attitude to work. Similarly, they don’t let obstacles or setbacks derail them. One way to assess the strength of your team’s attitude is to look at how they approach risk. Is there a sense on your team that you can all brainstorm freely, experiment with ideas, and test strategies that may fail? If not, you as a leader can take steps to encourage a more risk-tolerant culture, including signaling your attitude about risk through very intentional language.
- High-performing teams get things done. As a result, they deliver, meeting and exceeding their goals and objectives. But performance also goes beyond the numbers, to process. Are your team meetings productive? Can the group discuss issues and make related decisions quickly? Are the talents and expertise of all of its members in play? These are some of the issues that prevent high-performing teams from continuing to perform quarter after quarter.
A Team Is the Sum of Its Parts
To best understand and improve team success, leaders need to assess the individual performance of each team member. While the entire team’s performance is of top priority, the combined effort of each individual results in the team’s overall success. By examining the performance of each team member, leaders can take steps to foster inclusion and collaboration, helping team members reach their full potential.
How exactly can you track individual team member performance? There are different key performance metrics you can use, but here are a few common ones:
Productivity is a key metric that measures how effectively employees complete their tasks and contribute to team success. It involves tracking the quantity and quality of work completed within a specific timeframe. To improve productivity, leaders must identify and overcome challenges that may hinder employees from achieving their goals. Measuring productivity regularly helps leaders identify areas of success and those that require improvement.
This metric evaluates how effectively an employee performs their job. Employers can set specific work output or goal targets and measure how well employees complete them within a specific time frame. This metric can help leaders understand how employees contribute to the team’s effort.
Measuring an individual’s teamwork contributions is crucial for understanding the impact they have on the group. Positive teamwork can help to foster collaboration, creativity, and innovation, enabling teams to reach their goals more quickly and efficiently.
To measure and improve these metrics with a distributed team, check out our Team Success Metrics Playbook for Virtual & Remote Teams.
Data-driven approaches to team performance
When you’re starting to analyze and measure your team performance, remember there are powerful digital tools you can turn to which can help you optimize your own outcomes. For example, today’s next-generation performance tools provide you with a data-driven approach to team performance. These tools allow you to assess, benchmark and improve your team’s performance. When teams use RallyBrights solutions, they have access to our easy-to-use team performance dashboard, which helps teams quickly identify areas that are working well, and areas for improvement.
Team performance leads to organizational success
Why does team performance matter, and why can metrics for measuring team success help organizations? Team performance is a powerful factor in how an organization performs, and the truth is that it’s nearly impossible to gauge how a team is performing without measuring metrics. Measuring team performance through metrics allows leaders to see exactly where each individual team member stands, and where their team is both excelling and struggling.
With that in mind, here are some of the top benefits of measuring team performance.
Clear Data-Backed Insights
Why does your team behave the way they do? How is your team faring as far as psychological safety goes? Is your team aligned? While leaders might have a hunch about these things, it’s impossible to say for certain without data. But with team performance metrics, you can know for sure what’s going on with your team.
Better Informed Decisions
Without team performance metrics, leaders are essentially flying blind when making decisions for the team. But when you know your team’s behaviors, strengths, and weaknesses, you can make strategic decisions that are most likely to succeed.
Close the “Reality Gap”
The unfortunate truth is that many leaders might be experiencing a “reality gap” between their perspective and their team’s actual ratings and composition. By understanding the behaviors and performance driving your team, leaders can have a clear picture of what’s going on, helping to reduce friction within teams across departments.
See Blind Spots
Blind spots earned their name because they’re difficult to see with the naked eye. But with key metrics and insights, leaders can get valuable perspectives and see their current team’s performance with fresh eyes.
To Improve, Focus
What’s the advantage of assessing a specific list of attributes? It’s the ability to come away with a clear goal. By honing in on one or more of these five aspects, you can focus your energy on the efforts that will strengthen that area. Then, you can reassess periodically (through pulse surveys or other vehicles) if your team is making progress. Making the target clear to your team will improve the chance they will take the actions that lead to progress and sustained long-term team success.
Enhancing Team Performance With Metrics
When it comes to optimizing your team’s performance, just about nothing matters more than metrics for measuring team success. By utilizing these metrics, leaders can gain unparalleled insights into how their team is actually performing, make decisions that best play to their team’s strengths, help improve their team’s weaknesses, and spot the most effective opportunities for growth.
If you’re ready to leverage the power of team performance metrics, we’re here to help. Here at RallyBright, our tools help teams optimize their performance in today’s collaboration-first world. You can easily assess, benchmark and improve your team’s performance with roadmaps and resources designed to help teams achieve high-performance collaboration.
Contact us for a demo and see how RallyBright can benefit your team!