Creating high-performing teams at your small business


People often say that entrepreneurship isn’t a career — it’s a lifestyle. Forget the 40-hour workweek. Small business owners are constantly thinking about their products or services and how to grow a successful company.

Whether you have two, 20 or 200 employees, having a healthy, high-performing team is one of the most critical factors influencing the success of your company. Despite the constant busyness you may face as a small business leader, it is important to regularly check in with employees to make sure your team is performing at its best.

Too often, managers or business owners will wait to evaluate team performance until something has gone wrong. However, building a high-performing team is an intentional act that takes time. Spend the time cultivating a high-performing team now, so that when something does go awry, your team is equipped to handle it well.

The Drexler-Sibbet Team Performance Model is an incredibly useful tool to build a high-performing team. This model shows the seven most predictable stages in forming and sustaining a team. Each stage plays an important role and taking the time to move through the process together solidifies your team’s purpose, trust and impact. The seven stages of a high-performing team are:

1. Orientation: Establish the purpose of the team and each individual on the team. Clarifying why the team exists will help create a sense of purpose, team identity and membership.

2. Trust building: Get to know each team member and build trust based in mutual regard, forthrightness and reliability.

3. Goal clarification: Communicate the shared vision and make sure each member of the team understands the overall goal you’re working toward.

4. Commitment: This is a critical point in team building where roles are assigned, resources are allocated and decisions are made. Make sure the right roles are assigned to the right people and that team members feel equipped to do their jobs.

5. Implementation: Do the work! If the team has followed the previous steps, team members should be able to execute their roles well, following clear processes.

6. High performance: This is where high-performing teams differentiate themselves. Team members experience synergy, trust and flexibility. Deliverables are surpassed. If this stage is unresolved, members will feel overload or disharmony.

7. Renewal: Recharge the team. Recognize and reward both team and individual performances, reflect on lessons learned and prepare for what’s next!

What stage is your team at? What do you need to get to the next step? If you find that your team is stuck on a particular stage, the Drexler-Sibbet model can help you identify unresolved feelings or behaviors, so you can turn them into the behaviors of a high-performing team. This roadmap is incredibly valuable for teams of all sizes, contributing to the sustainable success of your small business.

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