Six Questions Put High-Performing Teams On A Path to Breakthrough Results

Committed TeamsMario Moussa and Derek Newberry, authors of Committed Teams, discovered that teams achieve better outcomes if they answer six questions when setting team goals.

  1. Are we really clear about our team’s purpose?
    A shared purpose held equally by all team members generates passion and inspires mutual commitment. Shared purpose gives clarity when the best laid plans are altered by the fog of unexpected changes in business conditions. If members are fully clear about the team’s original intent, they can more easily make needed adjustments on the fly.
  2. Are we being bold in stating our objectives?
    In the book, Built to Last, James Collins and Jerry Porris urged teams to set Big Hairy Audacious Goals or BHAGs. BHAGs should be clear and compelling, serve as unifying focal point of effort, and act as a clear catalyst for team spirit. Moussa and Newberry say these bold objectives create focus, give team members the opportunity to stretch themselves, and create opportunities for growth.
  3. Are we being specific?
    Research indicates that people and teams are more likely to achieve goals that are clear, concrete and specific.  And, by focusing on a specific goal, the team will develop new habits that positively impact their outlook and behaviors.
  4. Have we answered WIIFM for each team member?
    Most people have heard the refrain, “There’s no “i” in team.” But Moussa and Newberry say the idea won’t help teams achieve top performance. For teams to give collective goals high priority, they have to believe there’s a clear answer to WIIFM – What’s in it for me? Individuals whose aspirations aren’t met through the team’s work become free riders, whose minimal contributions drag down team performance. 
  5. Have we answered WIIFMO?
    Why does the team exist? What value will it create for the organization? Answering these questions shapes the Central Idea, the reason for the team’s work and values. As the Eiffel Tower orients a person to her location in Paris, the Central Idea helps teams make decisions that draw them toward, not away from, their objective.
  6. What could go wrong?
    To ensure the team hasn’t succumbed to groupthink, it should use if-then thinking to anticipate barriers. “If we haven’t reached the target market share in three months, we will conduct more research on two customer segments.” One technique is to use the Army’s Red Teaming tactic to have an outsider poke holes in the team’s strategy.  Invite an outsider to play devil’s advocate to identify the team’s blind spots.

Organizations are moving away from rigid hierarchies and toward dynamic teaming. Teams improve their ability to achieve breakthrough results using these six questions to guide their process for goal setting.

Ask how you can participate in the 3-hour course: Breakthrough Results Through Committed Teams led by Mario Moussa and Derek Newberry on CorpU’s Premiere Leadership Platform. Email academysupport@corpu.com for questions or support.