Creating High-Performance Work Teams

Creating high-performance work teams is more than just throwing people together and expecting them to perform as a cohesive unit. Work teams can create a synergy that results in a level of performance far greater than any one person, but to accomplish that, you need a game plan. Together, everyone achieves more if you can get everyone on the same page, committed to accomplishing the same goal. The most popular team-building model taught in business school is a four-stage model first introduced by Phycologist Bruce Tuckman in 1965. Tuckman believed that these stages are necessary for a team to grow, overcome challenges, solve problems, and deliver results.

Worth Remembering … “Teams are now the primary force of organizations. They are worth cultivating at their core. Their core is the mind of each team member.” – Nancy Kline

Forming: Forming is the getting acquainted stage in which team members meet each other, form initial impressions, and try to get a sense of what it will be like to work together and be part of a team. You can help this process by planning social get-togethers outside of the workplace or having a company-organized meet and greet so team members can begin to build those all-important relationships.

Storming: Conflicts and disagreements are inevitable as team members start to work together. Different personalities and work styles will clash. That’s why soft skills, the ability to communicate and interact more effectively with others, is critical to team success. Hire people who like to be around people and who want to be part of a team.

Norming: Norms shape team behaviour by establishing and imposing group standards. This is when the real work begins. Never allow standards to slide. First, team members need to know what is expected of them. Next, they need to understand what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour. Finally, they must be willing to do what ever it takes to be a good team player. Then, you need to step up and call out those who are not meeting those norms.

Performing: This is the final stage of creating a high-performance team. People do what you inspect, not what you expect. You need to get out of your office and manage the team by walking around. You must monitor their performance to ensure team goals are met.

Worth Remembering ... “It is not the individual but the team that is the instrument of sustained and enduring success in management.” – Anthony Jay.

The next time you’re charged with creating a high-performance team, try Tuckman’s four-stage model. If that doesn’t work, you can always use Tuckman’s fifth stage – adjourning. Adjourning was added to his model in 1977. I think it’s for project teams that have accomplished their objective, then disbanded. I’m not looking to break the team up if the team concept is working.

Copyright (c) 2021. Brian Smith – Power Link Dynamics. Not to be reproduced without permission. To find our more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit:

You Ruin Good People By Promoting Them

Do automotive technicians make the best service managers or shop foreman? Do great athletes have what it takes to be a successful coach? Just because people are good at what they do – doesn’t mean they’ll be just as good in a management position. You ruin good people by promoting them if you aren’t prepared to help them take on a new role. Not everyone has what it takes to manage and lead others. Managing is about people. If you don’t like being around people and helping them succeed, you will be a lousy manager. Managing and leading others isn’t about what you know – it’s about being able and willing to teach others what you know.

Worth Rememberng … “One of the most important things about being a manager is to rule with a heart. You have to know the business, but you have to know what is at the heart of business, and that’s people.” – Oprah

Hiring a good manager or promoting from within starts with the selection process. What key characteristics should you be looking for in your managers? If you had to create a list of the qualities you believe a good manager or leader must have – what would you put on that list? Honesty, integrity, a great communicator, and listening to others would be a good start. Managers and leaders should be open-minded, flexible, patient and empathetic. Respecting others and being respectful is a 2-way street – You must give it to get it.

Worth Remembering … “We are being judged by a new yardstick; not just how smart we are, or by our training and expertise, but also by how well we handle ourselves and each other.” – Daniel Goleman

I believe we aren’t born knowing how to manage and lead others. I think it is a learned behaviour. We all make certain assumptions based on our own experiences and perceptions about the kind of role we think managers and leaders should play. But we also know from experience that our perceptions may not always be correct and that sometimes we have to change our thinking. Today’s managers and leaders need to change how they manage and lead others to stay in step with these changes. Twentieth-century thinking doesn’t cut it anymore. Just because someone has been there the longest or has the most experience doing what they do – doesn’t mean they’ll be good at managing or leading others. You ruin good people by promoting them if you aren’t prepared to teach them how to manage and lead the 21st century way.

Copyright (c) 2021. Brian Smith – Power Link Dynamics. Not to be reproduced without permission. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit –

Being Passionate About Something Isn’t Enough

Anyone who knows me knows that I am passionate about golf. I love watching it, playing it and reading about it. But just because I am passionate about golf doesn’t mean I will be good at playing it. Being passionate about something isn’t enough. To be good, to be really good at something takes commitment, dedication and hard work. To be good, to be really good at something, you must be consumed by it. Malcolm Gladwell, in his book – “Outliers – The Story of Success.” wrote about the ten thousand hour rule. Researchers believe that ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness. They think it takes the brain this long to assimilate all that it needs to know to achieve true mastery. (That works out to someone practicing at least 40 hours a week for 4.8 years)

Worth Remembering … “There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when the circumstance permit. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.” – Art Turock

How committed are you to be the best version of yourself? How committed are you to do all you must do to reach your full potential? Mozart started writing music at age six, but his first masterwork, No. 9 – K. 271, wasn’t composed until he turned twenty-one. Wayne Gretzky, arguably the greatest hockey player of his or any previous generation, started learning his craft at age three on his backyard rink. Tom Brady was seventh on the quarterback depth chart when he enrolled at Michigan, and Michael Jordan got cut from his high school basketball team.

Worth Remembering … “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavour.” – Vince Lombardi

There is no such thing as being too old. Colonel Sanders, at age 65 when most people are looking to retire, founded Kentucky Fried Chicken. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Bruce Arians became the oldest head coach to win the Super Bowl at age 68. Are you satisfied where you are – or are you looking for more? Keep in mind that wishing and hoping won’t make it so. Success, your success, is a planned event. What are you prepared to do to excel in your chosen field of endeavour? Are you ready to commit to a new beginning? Start now!

Copyright (c) 2021. Brian Smith-PLD. Not to be reproduced without permission. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization, visit:

I’ve Just Been Promoted – What Should I do Next?

Congratulations on your promotion! Your management team believes you have the potential to take on a management or leadership role in your organization. Making that transition from worker to manager can be a difficult one. It requires a different skill set. It’s no longer about what you know – it’s now about your ability to teach someone else. It’s no longer about you – it’s about them and what you need to do to help them be successful. If your team succeeds, then you succeed. If they fail – it’s because you failed to give them the tools they needed to complete the task and accomplish the goal.

Worth Remembering … “You establish some objectives for them, provide some incentive and try not to direct the detailed way in which they do their work.” – David Packard, HP

I’ve spent over 40 years as a general manager for a major retailer, college professor and independent business owner, so I can tell you from my own experiences that managing and leading others is a learned behaviour.

Here is what I recommend you should do next.

  • Learn to communicate in a style that they like. No one wants to be talked down too.
  • Take the time to listen to what others have to say. You don’t have to agree with them, but you need to respect that they have an opinion and have a right to express it.
  • Be empathetic. See things from their point of view. There may be somethings going on that you aren’t aware of.
  • Be flexible and open minded. It doesn’t have to be just your way to complete the task. Allow others to have input.
  • Be patient. It takes time for people to learn new skills. Be there to offer your support. It would help if you were their biggest cheerleader.
  • Relationships are important. People like to work with people who make them feel that they are wanted and appreciated. Take the time to get to know the people you are working with.

Worth Remembering … “Desire for approval and recognition is a healthy motive but the desire to be acknowledged as better, stronger, or more intelligent easily leads to an excessively egoistic psychological adjustment.” – Albert Einstein

It’s important to know what you know, but I think it’s more important to acknowledge what you don’t know. You don’t have all the answers. How could you? You’ve just been promoted. Managing and leading others is all new to you. Soft skills, your ability to interact more effectively with others, are more critical to your success than your technical knowledge.

Copyright (c) 2021. Brian Smith – Power Link Dynamics. Not to be reproduced without permission. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit: