Open Secrets of creating High Performance teams

Open Secrets of creating High Performance teams

Collaboration and teamwork are a minimum pre-requisite for an Agile transformation way to work and deliver high-value outputs. Such a digital transformation produces the desired outcomes for both clients and end-users.

Today via this blog, I will express a set of ideas – some old (old wine packaged in a new bottle) and a few new ones.

Open Secret # 1

Always work to provide leadership, relationship, and scope for creativity

Most team members think that they have been hired strictly for what is written on their profile/resume. Honestly, skills and experience on a resume provide only 33% help. Everyone should know that their capabilities are only one-third of the pie. The other parts of this pie are to provide direction and confidence to their team.

The standard question is - How could a team member provide direction when it does not fall under their job title? It is essential to keep in mind that it is best to guide in an area that is your strength and falls under your unique skills and abilities. Otherwise, it would not come across as being credible.

Many folks do not realize that confidence is just the tonic that any organization, project, or business requires to be successful. It is a leaders' job to provide the right kind of environment to our team members and support them in demonstrating and exercising confidence. Trust people to do the job, and they would do just fine and, at times, much better than your expectations.

Speaking about creativity – team members sometimes think that only the people who innovate and initiate new ideas are creative. Well, I should say that it is partially correct. If you are involved in doing some research and can be creative on how a piece of information is gathered, stored, analyzed, and presented, you are creative. Or if you are someone who is best when it comes to organization. In that case, you can be creative when you produce a new integrative system to allow people/end-users to access what they need quickly and efficiently.

Remember always to be looking out for ways to boost you/your team to produce faster, easier, cheaper and bigger and better results. It could be through one of the many digital transformation options available or even without.

Open Secret # 2

Focus on the bigger and desired results and not just the time and effort required.

Let us go through a conversation to understand it.

Manager: I am so disappointed that we did not close this contract. It was vital for our success for the current quarter, and we have blown it away!

Team Member: But we put in a lot of time, worked nights, and over two weekends. We put in a lot of effort to put all of the things together. Doesn't that count for anything?

Manager: Since we did not get the contract. NO!!!

But leave feeling hurt and misunderstood aside for a while.

I am sure we have all faced a similar situation over the years in our careers. If you change your perspective slightly, both parties are right in the conversation. They put in a lot of effort and still did not get the desired results. Teams and Team members need to understand that management, sponsors, and shareholders live in a RESULT-BASED ECONOMY and not in a time-and-effort economy.

In the time-and-effort economy – one has job security along with a steady paycheck. Whereas in a RESULT-based economy – it is a 100% risk every time and no guarantees for where the next dollar cheque shall arrive.

So how does the team find out what is the desired result?

Simple – ASK!

In the current fast pace of day-to-day business, it is easy for others to assume that everyone thinks and understands a project and its related outcomes just like they do. To figure out if this is true, you would have to ask yourself.

"What does this look like when it is done and done well?"

Open Secret # 3

Take full ownership of your projects! Have an ownership attitude.

Is Responsibility = Blame? – The new paradigm!

Taking responsibility means to most folks is to take the blame.  It is interesting to note that ‘blame’ is the first word as synonym in MS Word thesaurus.

Responsible means – "Able to Respond." One of the best phrases is, "It is not my job." Really!!! Is the success of the company important to you? If yes, then it is your job.

The best team members take responsibility for the experience that the company is creating, even if it may not be a part of their day-to-day activities. They know that it is a necessary task and find a way to make the right things happen. Such people usually engage other team members to help solve a problem.

The broader perspective is vital as not everything in a project/business is defined, crystal, predictable, or consistent. Unexpected things come out of the woodwork, and the entire team needs to be ready to respond.

Our greatest lessons and learnings come when things do not go as expected, and when we learn to do the task differently.

If you never take a risk! If you never make a mistake! You're merely playing safe. One can do all the research they want, but at some point, one must take action and learn from what happens in real life.

Always know - what can go wrong? What is the worst-case scenario? Plan yourself upfront so that these identified situations do not occur. On similar grounds, find what success looks like and what one needs to do to achieve it?

It is vital for us to know that if we want to grow professionally, we need to be prepared to grow personally as well.


Open Secret # 4

Be Open - Be receptive to new ideas and initiatives. Prepare and Plan for change.

Staying always open to new ideas and thoughts can be a considerable challenge for anyone. We are often comfortable with our ways of thinking and doing things and believe that it is the most right/correct way of doing things. It takes courage and willingness to get out of the comfort zone and entertain a whole new or slightly different approach.

Teams would become high-performing ones when they can look at the situation from the Product Owner's or the End-user viewpoint. They need to be receptive to different thinking and thought processes. Merely existing in an agile transformation will not help. One shall need to live it.

If the team looks at the changes as interruptions and wrong ways of doing things continue, then the life of a project/team/product development would be complicated.

Each team member should be willing to go outside their comfort zone and consider new ideas and opportunities.

One should always pay attention to patterns of activities, call, and other similar events to anticipate what challenge is coming in next.


Not only the three roles in a Scrum Team, but every role needs to work in Agile ways towards these open secrets. They are commonly known to all of us. They are not new (as I said earlier, old wine in a new bottle). We need to embrace and practice them in real projects.

While it does take a certain amount of courage to be different, it also requires the respect of all those involved in the digital transformation journey. There has to be an openness to discuss ideas and thoughts and be ready to agree to disagree. It would help if you had a prior commitment from all stakeholders, roles, and colleagues to implement and try these new ideas and experiment. Remember that we all need to collaborate and trust each other's abilities to expand our reach by developing our thought processes.

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