Author: Tom Massey
Publisher: Religious Broadcasting Inc.
Reviewer: Goke Ilesanmi
High performance is very critical to the survival of any organisation or individual. This is why I want us to examine this text entitled “Ten Commitments for Building High Performance Teams”. It is written by Dr. Tom Massey, a corporate leadership trainer and coach with about 20-year experience in optimising individual and organisational performance.
Team performance, according to Massey, is only as strong as the collective performance of members. This consultant says when committed, collaborative individuals with complementary skills work together, synergy takes place because total performance is greater than the sum of the individual parts.
Massey adds that the ten commitments outlined in this text will help you get the right people in the right positions to develop a focused, values-driven, high performing team. This author advises you to learn how to get every member to take personal ownership of your team’s success by creating shared purpose, values and strategic goals.
Massey says through this text, you will be able to gain insights into how to set up profit-sharing, establish work standards and correct performance problems in addition to creating a learning organisation that is able to adapt to the challenges of the next century.
This text is segmented into ten chapters. Chapter one is entitled “Commit to getting the right people ‘on the bus’”. In the author’s words, “When you have the right people on the bus, with the right skills and a high-level commitment, regardless of whether you are a business manager or coach of a sports team, you will be successful.”
Massey says the first thing to start when picking the right people for your team is to develop job descriptions based on factors of success for each position. “Great coaches and managers develop every position as if it is the most important position on the team, and it is. Remember the adage: A chain is only as strong as its weakest link,” he adds.
According to Massey, factors of success may be defined as the skills and behaviour needed to perform a job successfully within the culture operated by the team.
He says these factors include more than simply the skills requirements. Skills requirements are essential characteristics or experiences every team member must have in order to qualify for his or her respective position. However, there are other behavioural standards required to ensure team success, says the author.
Chapter two focuses on commitment to greeting everyone ‘on the same page’. Massey educates that established rules provide structure. He adds that people know what is expected of them and how they will engage one another in day-to-day interaction. The author says conflicts commonly arise in teams because of failed expectations caused by assumptions of one or more people.
Massey discusses the issue of creating a team charter. He says a team charter is a written document used to define the team’s purpose/vision, values and goals, adding that the charter will also assist to serve as a contract between the team and the organisation. The author expatiates that charters may be developed by top management, then presented to team members; or teams can create their own charters and present them to top management. Regardless of who creates the charter, it is absolutely imperative that top management should give full endorsement to provide the team the needed direction and authority, says Massey.
In chapters three to six, this author X-rays concepts such as committing to creating a learning environment; committing to sharing the profits and losses; committing to turning around poor performance; and committing to dancing with ‘those who brought you’.
Chapter seven is based on the subject matter of committing to win. According to this author here, if you want your team to reach the level of high performance, you must transform those moments of fear and uncertainty into opportunities for ordinary people to achieve extraordinary results.
Massey says the late John Wooden, hall-of-fame coaching legend once told his UCLA basketball team thus: “Men, the team that makes the most mistakes tonight will win the game!” Massey adds that Wooden encouraged his players to take risks and make more mistakes because he knew that you miss 100 per cent of the shots you never take.
Massey advises you against allowing naysayers a foothold in your team to perpetuate a story of negativity. He says the story heard is the story told. Massey adds that you should tell a different story, one that perpetuates a ‘play to win’ mindset that will allow you to create anything you want.
In chapters eight to ten, the author discusses concepts such as committing to growing through adversity; committing to having fun; and committing to playing large.
It must be stressed that the concepts X-rayed in this book are deep and rich in value. On style, this text is on the high rung of the ladder. Apart from the simplicity of the language, the mode of presentation is logical and highly intelligent. What’s more, Massey employs classical allusions, starting every chapter with a quote from a legendary figure, just to achieve conceptual reinforcement and ensure easy understanding on readers’ part. He adds “Practical Application” segment at the end of each chapter where additional tips are offered, to ensure practical involvement of readers.
However, chapters five and seven need to be harmonised for conceptual compactness.
Generally, Massey’s intellectual efforts in this text are commendable. If you want your organisation to surpass previous achievements by building highly-effective teams, then this text is a must-read and the tips must-apply.
GOKE ILESANMI (FIIM, FIMC, CMC), CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is an International Platinum Columnist, Professional Public Speaker, Career Mgt Coach and Certified Mgt Consultant. He is also a Book Reviewer, Biographer and Editorial Consultant.
Tel: 08055068773; 08187499425