You already learned from our Data Fluency Series that all good data has range. If you’re measuring multiple people on the same quality and your data comes back completely rangeless – just the same number, over and over again – you know that your measuring stick is broken.
If you’re measuring correctly, one of the simplest places to find range is in performance data. Within the same company – even within the same geographical location & discipline – you will find a large range of performance, team by team. In any organization, some teams will be high-performers while other teams fall to the bottom.
You probably know by now that it’s my life’s research to determine what creates high-performing teams. Many people attempt this by examining the high-performers to see what conditions exist on those teams. Many others examine the low-performers instead, and then try to retrofit those “bad” conditions to say that the opposite is true for teams that perform well.
Neither of those approaches will give you the answers that you need. Instead, we have to examine the high-performers and the low-performers, to determine which conditions exist on the high-performing teams that don’t exist on the low-performing teams.
An organization can have a consistent way of hiring people, training people, paying them, and promoting them – but the day-to-day culture and performance doesn’t depend on the organization, it depends on the individual teams within it. The team is the most important unit of analysis when it comes to company performance.
So, what creates range in performance? The team leader. Team leaders are in control of the culture, the day-to-day work, and the employee engagement within their team. They are the ones who create – or destroy – team performance. And it’s time we’ve started to give them the tools that can help.
Clip courtesy of the New York Times New Work Summit.