High-Performance Teams


What Do We Consider a High-Performance Team?

A high-performance team, according to the contributions of Peter F. Drucker, Jon Katzenbach, and Douglas Smith, is a group of individuals highly committed to a shared purpose and clear goals, whose complementary skills and knowledge combine effectively to achieve superior results.

Characteristics of a High-Performance Team (HPT)

Here are the 8 key characteristics that define a high-performance team:

  1. Mutual Trust and Cooperation 🤝: In a high-performance team, mutual trust is the solid foundation on which effective relationships are built. Members fully trust each other, fostering an open and collaborative environment where they feel safe to express ideas and opinions.
  2. Effective Communication and Productive Conflict 💬: In a high-performance team, effective communication and constructive conflict management are key pillars. Members communicate openly and honestly, resolve conflicts productively, and collaborate actively to achieve common goals.
  3. Clear Vision and Objectives 🎯: A high-performance team is 100% focused on a shared vision and clear objectives. Everyone understands and works toward a common purpose, providing clear direction and coherence in the team’s actions.
  4. Commitment to Collective Success and Emotional Intelligence 🌟: In a high-performance team, commitment to the team’s success and a growth mindset, driven by emotional intelligence, are fundamental. Members are committed to collective success over individual achievements and are willing to proactively and resiliently overcome challenges.
  5. Defined Roles and Responsibilities / Autonomy and Maturity 🔧: In a high-performance team, roles and responsibilities are clearly defined, and members have the autonomy and maturity needed to perform their functions. This transparency increases the team’s effectiveness and acknowledges the valuable contribution of each member to collective success.
  6. Culture of Continuous Improvement and Agile Mindset 🚀: A high-performance team promotes a culture of continuous improvement, adaptability, and innovation. It is constantly seeking ways to improve, adapt to changes, innovate in its approach, and rigorously track results to maintain high performance.
  7. Effective, People-Centered Leadership 👥: In a high-performance team, human and effective leadership is essential. Leaders guide, inspire, and support the team, creating an environment of psychological safety, inclusion, collaboration, and growth where everyone can reach their full potential.
  8. Accountability and Focus on Results 📈: In a high-performance team, accountability and focus on results are priorities. Each member is responsible for their contribution to the team’s success and focuses on achieving the desired results, thus maintaining the team’s effectiveness.

How Does a High-Performance Team Work?

High-performance teams (HPTs) execute excellently and offer the best indices of effectiveness, productivity, and performance, bringing invaluable advantages in talent loyalty and development. These teams stand out for their ability to produce extraordinary results and for combining a series of characteristics fundamental to their success.

How to Create a Team with These Characteristics?

Having excellent teams is the aspiration of every organization, but being able to create and manage high-performance teams is a task not only for the leader but also for a solid organizational culture. What differentiates a high-performance team from any other work team are its specific characteristics.

Here is a roadmap with 6 steps to form a high-performance team:

  1. Examine Your Organizational Culture: Before forming a high-performance team, it is crucial to evaluate the current organizational culture. Analyze work dynamics, leadership, interpersonal relationships, and result measurement systems. Work on improvement areas to build a successful team.
  2. Develop Human and Effective Leadership: Train team leaders to be inspiring, strengthen their emotional intelligence, and drive collective intelligence. People-centered leadership is essential to guide, motivate, and support the high-performance team in achieving excellent sustainable results.
  3. Carefully Select Team Members: Choose team members by looking for people with the potential and ability to contribute to the high-performance team’s success. Look for individuals with complementary skills and a strong commitment to teamwork.
  4. Clearly Establish Purpose, Objectives, and Responsibilities: Providing clarity in these areas is fundamental to aligning the team’s efforts and ensuring a collective focus on achieving goals.
  5. Foster Open Communication and Mutual Trust: Create an environment where team members feel safe to communicate openly and share ideas and concerns. Foster mutual trust, as it is essential for building solid and effective relationships within the high-performance team.
  6. Provide Means and Invest in Team Development: Provide team members with the necessary means and tools to effectively carry out their work. Invest in their development and training to improve their skills and competencies.

Examples of High-Performance Teams

  1. Google: Google stands out for its culture of innovation and collaboration, where creativity and experimentation are encouraged. The company has high-performance teams supported by strong leadership that inspires confidence and supports employee growth.
  2. Apple: Apple focuses on excellence in design and product quality. Its collaborative work culture and focus on continuous innovation allow high-performance teams to take calculated risks and explore new ideas, backed by leadership that fosters creativity and autonomy.
  3. Spotify: Spotify promotes a team culture centered on collaboration and experimentation, where autonomy and responsibility are encouraged at all levels. The company offers significant opportunities for employee learning and development, promoting a sense of purpose and shared achievement in its high-performance teams.

Practical Exercise: HPT Wheel

I propose a practical exercise to diagnose your team based on the 8 key characteristics that every high-performance team should develop.

Use this “Team Wheel”.

Rate your team from 1-10 on each of these 8 key characteristics of a high-performance team.

Observe the “Team Wheel” and answer these questions:

  • How balanced is the “Team Wheel”?
  • Which characteristic(s) require immediate attention?
  • How can you increase each key characteristic by 1 point to boost high performance in your team?


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