Monday, May 4, 2009

High-performing teams.

High-performing teams are teams which produce exceptional performance and are also deeply meaningful to the participants. While examples have been around for decades, the conventional wisdom still remains that:

• High-performing teams are mysterious - we don't know how they emerge. They're like falling in love - they happen unpredictably, by "luck" or "accident" or "chemistry" or when "lightning strikes."

• High-performing teams aren't really such a big deal, because although high-performance teams are better than good teams, they're not a whole lot better. They are not a game-changer.

Steve Denning has a new book coming out in 2010 that refutes these beliefs. Some of the principal findings of Denning's research are:

• High-performing teams aren't rare: in fact, they're quite common nowadays.

• These aren't teams of extraordinary people: they're usually ordinary people who've found ways to act in an extraordinary manner.

• Hundreds if not thousands of companies have already created high-performing teams in very large numbers.

• High-performing teams usually don't die of natural causes: they die because they're killed by management.

• High-performing teams are geographically distributable and scalable, so that large projects and even whole organizations can be being run on this basis.

• The improvement in performance that comes from using high-performing teams is dramatic. These are significant differences in scale: they're many-times more productive than traditional ways of organizing work.

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