High-Performing Teams


High-Performing Teams

One of the distinctions between good leaders and so-so leaders is the way in which they build effective teams. Southwest’s “ten-minute turn” illustrates what happens when you build effective teams and enable them to push the boundaries. Initially, it was considered impossible to turn a jet around for another flight in under thirty minutes. Today, each Southwest jet is fueled and serviced, has its tires changed, and is ready to go in ten minutes. Initially, Southwest had to do it because it had only three jets for four routes. Today it does it because it can—and because it provides tremendous competitive advantage.

Patrick Lencioni has defined an effective way of thinking about the habits of highly effective teams. Working with a team, we keep at it until all five habits are in place.

Five Habits of Highly Effective Teams

  1. Trust: Team members open up to each other. They admit their mistakes, weaknesses, and concerns without fear of reprisal.
  2. Creative conflict: People ask tough questions of one another and challenge each other’s assumptions. They probe an argument until they are satisfied.
  3. Commitment: Everyone adopts a common goal or set of goals and commits to achieving them. Goals are defined simply enough to be easily grasped, specific enough to be actionable.
  4. Accountability: Team members hold each other accountable for their performance. When someone underperforms, the team tells them immediately and in direct, honest terms.
  5. Attention to results: Team members regularly monitor their progress toward achieving the results. They don’t gloss over their performance, but talk about it.

When any of the five habits are missing, then trust is broken. There’s no shame in admitting it. Effective leaders don’t let their teams stay broken for long. They take the time to communicate and regenerate the sense of team trust. They get the critical issues on the table. They work through the checklist of five habits. They invest time and energy into making their teams effective again.

Download the PDF – “The Five Habits of Highly Effective Teams