Mindsets of High Performance team

Praveen Cheruvu

Engineering Leadership at Anaplan


  1. Team first mentality : Team members prioritize team interest over self interest. Team is responsible for team results and they are empowered to make the decisions necessary to achieve them. Everyone wins

  2. A culture of accountability : Peers and leaders hold each other accountable for the behaviors and delivery commitments to which the team is agreed. When the breakdowns are surfaced, they are resolved in a non judgmental way, creating a clean and level playing field that allows the team to move swiftly towards the goals.

  3. The five steps on the accountability ladder. Each step includes the ones below.

Step 1: Individual accountable for their performance

Step 2: Individuals accountable for direct reports

Step 3: Individuals accountable for peers

Step 4: Individuals accountable for their leader’s success

Step 5: Individuals accountable for the success of the organization

4. Harness everyone’s heart and mind: High performing teams utilize every member’s strength. Because everyone brings experience and passion for the job, different viewpoints are listened to and respected. Team members help one another to stay on the track. They coach and mentor each other. This attitude creates the energy and spirits to meet and master even the biggest challenges. Each of us is widely trusted and seen as direct and truthful. We appropriately safeguard customer and organizational data. We self report actions that may impact the business.

Skill sets for becoming high performing team

High performing team members take the time and have the discipline to acquire and use the right set of skills. The team is well rounded and has technical, leadership and strategic skills to effectively deliver on the commitments. The first line managers are mostly technical, strategic skills importance increase at the highest organizational level. Although the type of leadership competency might differ at various levels within the organization the need for effective leadership/interpersonal skills exist at every level.

Influencing skills: The ability to get the needs met with and through others, especially when you have no direct authority

Active Listening: The ability to clarify, understand and acknowledge another point of view. Listening always enables you to learn something new.

Assertion: Being able to balance courage and consideration. In the other words, being assertive rather than non assertive or aggressive.

Conflict Management skills: Resolving issues when the needs of two or more parties appear to be incompatible

Team Value : Teams are able to explore new ideas, In order to be creative, teams take the initiative and risks. They nurture ideas. Teams encourage the breakdown status quo and collective workable, practical, and creative solutions.

The eleven behavioral attributes of a high performing team

1.Be candid and straightforward: In a high performing team environment, it is imperative that you express the viewpoints and concerns about business issues, provide feedback to others and come forward with recommendations. Candor is key and is an integral component in building trust.

2. Be open to others viewpoints: Being open or receptive does not equal agreement. Rather, it is an acknowledgement of another’s point of view. When someone else’s viewpoint differs widely from yours, curiously challenge, but on a high performing team everyone’s contribution is welcome — and often opens up entirely new avenues of thought or alternatives

3. Accountable for results and behaviors: Being accountable means assuming ownership and not blaming other people, situations or “the organization” when you don’t achieve your goals or meet your commitments. Accountable individual ask “ What must I do in the face of the obstacles to move the business along ? “ They act in accordance with team protocols and manage their reactions and behavior to facilitate rather than hinder positive outcomes.

4. Hold others accountable for their results and behavior: If you teammates or other business partners have not delivered on their commitments or have acted in ways that are inconsistent with team protocols, it is important to confront them in an assertive, but respectful manner. This means discussing the issue in a depersonalized fashion and recontacting for the future

5.Let go “stories”: As a result of our experience, there is a possibility that the situations are approached with preconceived notions. For example, if you disagreed with a superior in a previous job or organization and there were negative consequences, you would naturally tend to tread carefully before doing this again. When individuals react to a situation based on others or their past experience without determining what is true in the current situation, they are reacting to a story rather than reality.

Players on high performing teams do not let themselves be guided by stories. They seek the facts. They update their stories soliciting others’ input to help them drop the “fiction”. They also support fellow members by calling out the stories they hear from them

6. Resolve or let it go: When individuals don’t follow or agree to the rules of engagement, it is important to approach the situation assertively. Some of the approaches are to have a 1:1 conversation with the individual to resolve it. Shift your attitude and perception about the issue by accepting it and “letting it go” or by leaving conversation, the relationship, the job.

The one choice that is not assertive and probably not right is not choosing any of the above three options. If the individual does not say anything or complain to others, it is leaning towards non action; i.e you are unhappy and don’t take any action towards resolving it. It might lead to a victim mentality. If leaving is not an option, the assertive choice is to resolve it or let go.

7. Don’t triangulate: When two team members have issues with each other, if they don’t resolve directly and involve a third party , this leads to triangulating the issue. Basically they enroll a third-part rescuer on whom they dump their frustrations and from whom they receive validation about their viewpoint. However, because there has been no direct confrontation with the appropriate individual, nothing gets resolved and negativity is perpetuated.

On a high performing team, triangulation is not tolerated. Do not recruit supporters to your point of view and learn to be comfortable having uncomfortable conversations and hold others accountable for doing the same. Remember, you are being paid to do what is right, what you feel comfortable doing.

8.Don’t accuse: Accusing a team member in absentia means that he or she cannot mount a defense or present the other side of the story. It is triangulation magnified, as the victim enlists the rest of the team as rescuers. Remember: the very act of accusing someone often causes harm to that person’s reputation.

9.Depersonalize– feedback is a business, not a personal issue. Individuals on a team cannot develop and be fully effective without feedback. Individuals on high-performing teams know that when they receive feedback. It is a business issue. It is not about their worth as human beings.

When receiving feedback, mature team members practice “de-personalizing”. They don’t resent others’ observations because they view them as an opportunity to learn and improve. And, when giving feedback to others, they are equally businesslike: offering constructive critique that is meant to help, not hurt.

10.Structure decision making: On many high-performing teams, few decisions are made in team meetings and few are made unilaterally or by consensus. Most decisions are made consultatively, Valuable meeting time is spent defining issues, assigning the most qualified resources to serve on sub-teams to resolve these issues, and listening to reports from sub-teams on the decisions that have been made. This method of decision-making is structured for speed and efficiency.

11.Be on time:Being on time shows respect to team members.Reflects that team members recognize the importance of the meeting and it enables the meeting to begin on time, setting the stage of completing the agenda in the specified time allotted for the meeting.

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Praveen Cheruvu

Engineering Leadership at Anaplan

Leadership DevelopmentCommunicationCulture DevelopmentFeedback TechniquesSkill DevelopmentTeam & Project ManagementDiversity & Inclusion

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