High Performance Team Model in Practice

The High Performance Team model is a visual representation of the core elements of team interaction that, when operating together in alignment, create conditions where individuals and the team itself thrives. 

This model, introduced to Vestalia Hospitality by Growing Edge Facilitation, supports our practice of shared, facilitative leadership because it offers a useful blueprint for what team members need to be on the same page about if they are going to work together in a dynamic way. 

When leaders can invite everyone on the team to frequently assess if they share mutual understanding of each spoke on this High Performance Team model, and agree to hold themselves and each other accountable to acting in alignment with it, the result is increased trust, creativity, innovation, and engagement. 

The model, in essence, describes why a high performance team is high performance.  As a leadership tool, this wheel can help you break down and give language to why your team is experiencing success, why you’re stuck, why you keep coming back to the same problem without making progress.  Once these elements are identified and made tangible, the wheel becomes a way for the team to navigate a desired path forward. 

Possibilities for using the HPT wheel as a leadership tool

It can be challenging and fascinating to dive into a team of people to try to figure out what makes them tick.  There is an unquantifiable number of interactions, perceptions, behaviors, mistakes, wins, misfires, conflicts, and emotions that remains fluid as folks work together while also providing shape to how a team does what they do. 

In the absence of intention, each of those unquantifiables can pull the energy of a team in a thousand different directions, making what they do together needlessly difficult, confusing, and unenjoyable.  With intention and shared focus, teamwork gains flow and the group goes farther, faster. 

This HPT wheel helps a leader identify key areas that the team needs synergy in order to keep them on track or get them back on it.  Use it when you find yourself in the following situations:

When things are feeling great on your team and you can’t pinpoint why

  • Recognize how this model relates to reports of team flow and engagement, how is each element affecting the other to create this energy?
  • What can be done to sustain what is present?

When things are feeling not-so-great or you’re stuck and you can’t pinpoint why

  • Go through each spoke of the wheel and ask yourself and/or your team what’s present and missing regarding that element
    • Note where you’re aligned and misaligned, where you’re not acting with accountability to standards or values you’ve agreed to, and where job performance and how folks are showing up are contributing to the situation
    • Everything you’ve noted as missing (something you’d need or need more of to achieve well-being as a team) becomes a to-do list to get you back on track
    • Collaborate to determine your desired end results as a team, prioritize that to-do list accordingly and come up with commitments for how you’ll all move forward together

When you want to recalibrate as a team to welcome new energy

  • Collaborate to determine which elements you want to prioritize
  • Recognize if you’re paying attention to one specifically – where can you get balance?  What other part can you shore up to make another one come into focus?

You can approach the HPT model like a recipe for success by asking questions about each spoke

The answers will either help you build high performance or diagnose what’s getting in your way of having it so you can build it back.  Use these generally or as a lens to gain more knowledge about a specific team or situation.

Clear Vision and Goals

  • What is the purpose of this team?  What are we all trying to achieve? 
  • Do we share an accurate understanding of our goal, including why it’s our goal and what achieving it successfully looks like?
  • How appropriate is our goal based on the situation we’re in?  How can we fine-tune it to meet our needs better?
  • Do we share the same commitment to achieving this goal?

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Do we have mutual understanding about the roles and responsibilities we have in achieving our shared goal?
  • Do we all believe that the R&R everyone is engaged in will get us to your goal?
  • What is missing in the R&R that is getting in our way of reaching our goal? (i.e., is something not happening that needs to happen, is something happening that shouldn’t be?)

Performance Review

  • What is present/missing about how we assess each other’s ability to perform our tasks?
  • What is our method for reviewing job/task performance?  How can we make it more satisfying and effective to give and receive?
  • What is everyone’s participation level in performance review?  How can we make it a practice that everyone contributes to?

Feedback and Accountability

  • What is present/missing about how you share observations about each other’s energy/attitudes/behaviors, how people are showing up? 
  • What is present/missing about how people hold themselves accountable?
  • What is present/missing with celebrating individual efforts and achievements on the team?
  • What is your relationship to failure?  How does your team respond to failure or fear of failure?

Team Recognition

  • What is present/missing with this team celebrating the team?
  • How do we feel about the frequency with which we celebrate one another?
  • What do we know about how individuals on the team like to be recognized; how the team does as a whole?

Ground Rules and Values

  • What ground rules and values has the team identified that they are committed to working with each other with? 
  • Where is it possible that there is misalignment around these? 
  • What are the clues you’re seeing that make you think there might be misalignment?
  • How do you go about sustaining mutual understanding around these? 
  • What is present and missing with your ground rules or values? 
  • What agreements or values do you see you could add or change to better meet your purpose and goals, or create well-being on your team?

Personal Mastery

  • For yourself, an individual on the team, or the team as a whole, what’s present and missing with level of engagement?  Initiative?  Development?  Capability?  Reliability?
  • Which individuals on your team continue to demonstrate sound strategies and action that bring them from where they are to where they need to be?  Which are struggling with this and how can you support them?

Support and Care

  • What’s present and missing with support?  Care? Connection? 
  • How do you know when it’s present/missing?  What actions/behaviors are you seeing?

This High Performance Team model is a foundational concept for Vestalia leadership because of its versatility and ability to ground leaders in key elements of alignment that a team needs to thrive.  The expectation is not that all teams and team members are showing up perfectly on each spoke, or that there is perfect balance of the spokes on each team.  The expectation is that the leader has awareness of how their team is showing up and they’re able to nurture the behaviors and practices that support the team, and help clear the obstacles that get in the way of their team being an HPT.  When used in tandem with the Leadership Essentials, you’ll find many possibilities for how to create an environment where your team becomes more than the sum of their parts. 

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