High performing teams have established shared “foundations”.  This includes clarity around collective purpose, goals and behaviour.

60% of a team’s effectiveness comes down to setting up the right team processes

Wageman & Hackman (2005) describe this as pre-work and include creating compelling purpose, goals, behavioural norms and work practices.  This set-up work also constitutes two of Peter Hawkins’ (2011) disciplines of high performing teams; clarifying and co-creating. Based on extensive research we consider purpose, behaviours and goals to be foundational topics with others forming a ‘long-tail’ of issues teams can face. 

Defining a clear team purpose

Having a clear and shared purpose for the team is one clear form of motivational coaching. With CoachBot, we consider Shared Purpose to be a foundational area for teams.

  • Having a sense of shared purpose helps to build a personal attachment with the organisation and results in better performance, engagement and satisfaction (CIPD Study, 2010).
  • Furthermore, deliberately aligning a team’s purpose with the organisation’s mission allows teams to become more clearly integrated, supported and resourced (Mickan and Rodger, 2000).

Agreeing clear expected team behaviours

A team’s norms are the informal rules and expectations that team members have about how to act within that team.

  • Collectively agreed ‘group norms’ are often cited as having a consistent and important influence on how team members act and expect each other to act (Feldman, 1984). 
  • A study of 60 self-managing teams found that higher levels of collectivistic group norms are related to higher perceived efficacy, higher levels of team performance (Celani & Tasa, 2010).
  • Consciously discussing team behaviours can serve to rectify any unspoken norms which the team are conforming to and which at times could be negatively impacting project performance or team effectiveness (Fung, 2014).

Committing to clear team goals

Not only is clarity of objectives a topic in most teamwork models, but having defined goals is an important foundation to allow teams to reflect about their performance and progress.

  • Mickan & Rodger (2000) found that not only individuals, but also the team as a unit, needs regular feedback and recognition of their progress towards the team’s goals. 
  • Cotton’s (2009) research in a military setting showed that prioritising collective goals above individual goals was related to a participant’s degree of successful teamwork behaviour. 
  • Aube & Rousseau’s (2005) study into 74 teams working in 13 Canadian organisations showed that higher levels of team goal commitment were related to higher levels of team performance. 
  • Finally, higher levels of cooperative (shared) goals correlate to departmental effectiveness and even interdepartmental effectiveness in Chen & Tjosvold’s (2008) study across 35 financial organisations in China.
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