In a nutshell

Working in teams is amongst the most effective and pleasurable aspects of working life. Yet in all too many cases, the impact of a team is no more than the sum of its parts, and frequently even less. In large organisations, this can be a definite hindrance - but in a small business, where the entire staff may form a single team, it puts the viability of the firm in doubt. Here you’ll find answers to the question “how do I get sustained high performance from my teams?"

Key steps to manage this issue

First of all, there are some myths to 'bust' about team building.

  • Team building is not a one-off activity; teams must be regularly maintained and developed to achieve high performance
  • Teams don’t just happen. Groups of people working together are not teams unless they take deliberate steps to team up and stay teamed up.

The key steps to take, in a continuous cycle, are as follows.

1. Clarify purpose

All teams exist for a purpose and it is surprisingly common that team members either do not know what that purpose is or cannot agree amongst themselves what they are trying to achieve. Likewise, teams do not exist in a vacuum but have stakeholders to whom they are accountable and, often, multiple roles with shifting priorities to perform.

The first, and most important, step to take is to establish exactly what the team’s ‘sponsors’ require it to achieve (in a small business the ‘sponsor’ is most likely to be the business owner). This is rarely as easy to do as it sounds and may take several rounds of discussion to arrive at a clear brief. This checklist is indicative of what may be needed and should be tailored to meet the needs of different organisations:

  • financial performance
  • output of products/services
  • innovation of new products/services
  • market intelligence
  • people development, retention and productivity
  • timescales
  • appetite for risk and attitude to failure
  • if size allows, interrelationships with other teams (including sharing learning and best practice)
  • reporting processes (such as the topics to be covered, in what level of detail and how often).

Once this brief has been clarified, the requirements must be translated into a set of shared priorities and principles for the team. This is sometimes known as a mission statement. These work best to focus, unify and motivate team members when they are created collaboratively and include agreed ways of working together (known as a team charter) as well as the specified performance deliverables.

2. Select team members

When it is clear what the team is to do and how it is to do it, then the right people need to be selected. This can be a contentious issue since teamwork is at least as much about relationships (see below) as it is about skills.

It may also be that your team already exists. The work described above to clarify purpose and mission may highlight existing members who will not be comfortable playing by the new ‘rules’. Getting the “right people on the bus and the wrong people off the bus” is nevertheless essential to high performance teamwork. Jim Collins, the originator of this metaphor actually maintains that you should start with ‘who’ and then do the ‘what’. For the purpose of this article, however, we make the practical assumption that you already have a team in place.

It is neither easy nor always appropriate to get people ‘off the bus’. The emphasis here must be on communication; especially listening hard to some potentially uncomfortable reasons for a lack of buy-in from team members. They may well have good reasons that you have overlooked and these objections have been known to save the day.

The best teams have a good balance of individual capabilities so that everyone involved can play to their strengths and minimise the effect of their weaker points on the collective performance of the team. This critical area of diversity is achieved when prospective team members feel able to disclose their own strengths, weaknesses, preferences and vulnerabilities and as well as to give and receive feedback within the team. The JoHari window (there are many references to this model on the web and you can find a useful guide is a simple and practical framework for this process on the MBDI website).

These aspects of diversity will emerge over time without interventions such as JoHari. However, there are two problems with relying on time to avoid the potential awkwardness of disclosure and feedback:

  1. The pace of work and the pressure to succeed are unlikely to allow you to team build at leisure
  2. The hidden strengths and weaknesses that may make the difference between success and failure will not be revealed without effort.

There is also considerable value to be had from the bonding effect of the shared experience of mutual disclosure and feedback in which long held assumptions are revealed to be surprisingly false.

If you are prepared to invest time and effort in offsite, experiential activity that is professionally designed to take team members out of their respective comfort zones and reveal how individuals react under pressure, the process of disclosure and feedback can be accelerated and deepened.

If this is impractical, team events can readily take place during the business day. The minimum requirement is that there is a clearly demarcated ‘no business, just team matters’ section. This may be harder than it sounds but it is an essential discipline.

3. Develop relationships

High performance teamwork ultimately boils down to the quality of the relationships within the team. It is because of the sheer number of interpersonal relationships in any group of people that teams are recommended to have a ‘small number’ of members.

This is an important area for leadership. By ‘leadership’ we do not just refer to the head person, the ‘team leader’. Leadership is required, in highly performing teams, from everyone. That is to say that each team member regards it as their natural duty to drive for results, use their initiative, take responsibility, support and challenge other team members and raise concerns in service of the team.

It is not essential that team members like each other, however. People do not have to socialise outside of work to be great colleagues. It is, however, critical that team members trust each other to play a full part in achieving the team’s mission.

Which brings us to perhaps the biggest question of all in teambuilding and team performance: how can we establish and build trust?

Although we all have our individual attitudes to trust and what makes us ‘gamble’ on the likely behaviour of the others in our lives, there are some simple steps to take to create the ‘operational level’ of mutual trust without which a team cannot function.

The first step here is to clarify what our expectations are of each other. As stated earlier, it is strongly recommended that this part of the team’s ‘mission’ is created collaboratively. A series of simple questions, such as the following, can draw out team members’ requirements. Although the questions are simple, they will not necessarily be easy to answer (just try answering these examples yourself!) so avoid rushing this exercise.

As a member of this team:

  • What do I expect of myself?
  • What do I expect of everyone else?
  • What will delight me?
  • What will frustrate me?

Of course, the first results of this type of exercise will be ‘only words’. So everyone must be asked to say what the words mean and to give examples.

The next steps are essential because you are probably going to have a somewhat rosy picture at this point and there is nothing to commit to yet.

  1. Write up your team’s ‘charter’, summarising the collective do’s and don’ts on a single sheet of A4. This document will form a key part of your ‘mission’ because it’s not just about what you want to achieve; it’s also why you want to achieve it and how.
  2. Have all members of the team physically sign off on it.
  3. Ask each member how they want their colleagues to challenge and support them when they fall short of this collective commitment – as they inevitably will unless you have set the performance bar too low. You could introduce a system of ‘yellow cards’, for example.

In high performance teams, everyone can and does challenge irrespective of status. Trust will not be established and therefore cannot be grown until the process of challenging and supporting underperforming team members takes place and is seen to be constructive rather than punitive.

4. Observe team disciplines

Most of the disciplines that characterise the work of high performing teams have been covered above; namely:

  • Be clear about business owner and stakeholder requirements.
  • Have a team mission and charter.
  • Understand, respect and support diverse strengths and weakness.

However, it is vital that you translate your good intentions into good habits. Team building and high performance will never happen purely because of an offsite event, no matter how brilliant it may be at the time, nor will they be the result of the best document you could ever write - without the rigour of open-hearted and courageous debate your team has little chance of success.

There is one further discipline you must commit to mastering and that is continual team performance appraisal. None of the other aspects of your team’s performance are ‘future proofed’. Both the context in which your team operates and its internal membership are constantly changing. Your best commitments to each other and to your stakeholders will very soon be out of date.

So, you must discuss and appraise your performance at every opportunity. Add a standard agenda item to every team meeting that requires all members to state what is working well for them and what needs further improvement. Ask the same questions of your team’s stakeholders and insist they respond in terms of relationships (“what’s it like doing business with us?”) as well as deliverables (“how satisfied are you with our results?”).

Professor Peter Hawkins talks in his book Leadership Team Coaching about “the joy of spending time in … teams where

  • we knew exactly what was required of us
  • we had a passion about our collective purpose, which we knew we could only achieve if we were all working at our best and working together
  • we looked forward to meeting up and there was a keen interest in each other’s successes, set-backs and learning
  • there was a real sense of partnership not just between the team members but with the board [business owner] and stakeholders
  • work was an adventure and a classroom, every setback an opportunity for new learning and every challenge a spur for creativity.”

These teams are rare because it takes courageous and continual work to create and sustain them. But these teams transform businesses and working lives for the better. If you want to be part of such a team and you’re prepared for the work, there is nothing to stop you. It need not be costly to build relationships and clarify purpose and ways of working together. It is far more expensive not to do so.

Remote or 'virtual' teams

We now work in an era in which many people operate at a distance from each other and on a variety of contracts (eg freelance or part-time) or flexible working arrangements. When team building for high performance, it is important to include everyone who plays a part in the mission of the business – apart from the most infrequent of freelancers or contractors. These colleagues will contribute better to the business if the mission is shared with them when you bring them on board.

The good news is that many of the recent studies suggest that most, if not all, of the practices recommended above can apply to a dispersed team using modern video conferencing.

We think that the most effective approach is to kick-off face-to-face wherever possible and then commit to regular, monthly, dedicated team meetings (‘no business, just team matters’) using your chosen video conferencing system. There is a range of advice available on different video conferencing systems online, including reviews of different platforms from TechRadar.

Tools and resources

Listen to the CIPD podcast looking at building the best team, download our top 10 tips for motivating your team, download our guide to writing team objectives to help you and your team set your shared objectives and read an extract from Michael Armstrong's How to Manage People published by Kogan Page on team performance.

Philippa Lamb: Team creation has always been a tricky business and now that technology allows people to work together regardless of their physical location it can be even more complex to analyse which skills and behaviours you'll need in the mix to turn them into a truly effective team.

Now of course you need expertise but personalities, culture, roles, goals, ways of working and communication, they’re all part of the recipe too. Get the balance right and your team should rise up and cook to perfection, get it wrong and all that effort and expense can go to waste.

Leadership expert and executive teacher Gareth Jones has spent 30 years studying teams in organisations all over the world and he's clear that building and maintaining effective teams all starts with careful groundwork.

Gareth Jones: If you want to build strong teams that's a really important task. It doesn’t happen automatically. Great team builders, whether we’re talking about sport, politics, work, religion, they put effort into it.

PL: Today businesses are often global and their workers are more culturally and geographically diverse than ever before so does that mean that creating truly productive teams is harder than ever?

GJ: Technology is changing almost exponentially. So you’re right technology is enabling interactions between much larger groups of people. Are they teams? Probably not. Human evolution moves very slowly. I think to start talking about teams of 80 or 90 is probably a mistake.

PL: So those are collaborating individuals?

GJ: They could be collaborating individuals.

PL: But not a team?

GJ: They’re not a team. And I think a very good question to ask yourself if you’re an executive facing the issue of teams and team building is, is this really a team? So to what extent do they have shared objectives, overlapping tasks and so on? And if they don’t by the way well don’t put a big effort into team building. So start really with asking yourself the question is this really a team?

PL: Okay. So what is the first thing that managers should think about then when they’re putting together a team, whether it be a short-term team or a long-term team? I think most people jump to skills and expertise.

GJ: Right. I’d go one stage back from that. I’d look at the task or tasks that the team is being asked to address and I would then write down a list of the critical success factors and that list by the way shouldn’t be 27, it should be three or four.

PL: Okay.

GJ: And then build your team, design your team around the critical success factors. And that might lead you by the way into thinking about what kinds of people you want to have in the team.

PL: Jonny Gifford is research adviser at the CIPD with a specialism in employee relationships and conflict. Here are his thoughts on how to put the best people together.

Jonny Gifford: You've got to think about the diversity of thought and skills and strengths that you have within the team. Diversity I think is an area that some people struggle with even though it’s become a mainstream area of HR. You think that we’ve got equality law so why do we need diversity? But I think it really comes alive when you start looking at team composition because you need that balance, you need people who fit in on the one hand but on the other hand you need enough divergence of thinking, enough of a mixture of strengths and perspectives in the team that you can be pushing the boundaries.

PL: Although diversity is clearly important a big body of research shows that we want to work with those we like and that can often mean those who are somehow similar to us. So building a group of similar individuals can make for easy communication and great collaboration but of course there are pitfalls. Too little conflict and there’s poor scope for innovative thinking; too much conflict and your team can become unhappy, disruptive and unproductive as individuals jostle for position and refuse to collaborate. Here’s Gareth Jones again.

GJ: There’s this conundrum isn’t there? If we like people too much, addressing poor performance becomes difficult. But like doesn’t necessarily mean similar. You see you like can people for their differences. So I sometimes think that the team leader’s role is about encouraging people to understand their differences and to exploit their differences, actually to synergise around their differences.

JG: Yeah, exactly, so the question becomes, what is a reasonable amount of effort that managers should make to integrate different styles of working, different personalities into the team?

PL: According to Jonny the answer to that question is ‘a lot’ because as long as you can manage any conflict that arises, and it’s bound to, you’re more likely to get really great teamwork from a diverse group of people. He argues that managing this sort of inter-team conflict should become a core competency of managers across organisations.

JG: I think that where organisations are currently at is that we tend to be very reactive in the way that we respond to conflict and often see it as a problem to be solved by someone outside the team so we’ll cart in a mediator or someone from HR to arbitrate, but really we need to see a shift. It needs to be seen as a core management competency, not only responding to conflict, containing conflict but building robust teams in the first place where issues can be talked about, people can be challenged, ideas can be challenged, we can push the boundaries, and that will feel safe.

PL: Are you listening to this wondering about your own role in a team? Then ask yourself this: are you a first born, a middle child, maybe the youngest in your family. Well there's a serious body of research looking at how birth order can impact on how we perform in teams. Crazy nonsense? Gareth doesn’t think so.

GJ: We know for example that first born children tend to develop quite high power drives. So my wife for example is the eldest of nine, so imagine what my marriage is like. Middle children, the evidence is not quite so clear on this but if we take a simple example, middle of three, they tend to develop quite high relationship drives and, surprise, surprise, quite high relationship skills because they’ve been making alliances from their very early life.

PL: Up and down, yes.

GJ: So I mean it’s a factor to consider. So if I've been putting together really complex team in the pharmaceutical business for example I do sometimes look at birth order, it would be one of the things I would look at for key people in the team.

PL: So it’s vital to focus on building the right team from the beginning and according to research by Noam Wasserman most start-ups fail because of failings in their team. Here’s one start-up CEO who believes he succeeded because he's focused so intensely on creating highly effective teams.

Ryan Notz: My name is Ryan Notz and I founded and run and we’re a marketplace that connects tradespeople and homeowners. So we have about 10,000 tradespeople on the site and we’re getting close to 40,000 jobs a month posted and the team is sort of divided into three big sections, broad sections. One is the tech, so tech and product, that's developing the website. The other is marketing. And then we have a customer service team. So I think in terms of building the team from the early days it was easy to see that the only thing we really had was the people and the company and the product was going to change, the customer base was small. I learned very quickly around problems with the technology that having a really solid tech team was the real key to success because at the end of the day it is a technology business. If our website isn’t running we’re not trading at all.

PL: Ryan spends a lot of his time recruiting and maintaining his teams and this might be why after a long, hard slog, is now a successful company. But building good teamwork into the organisation hasn’t been easy.

RN: I guess I learned the hard way. So I started the company back in 2004 so we’re now a good ten years in and the first few people I hired the interviewing process was poor. I didn’t necessarily know what I wanted. I’d come from a trade background myself and before that I was an artist so I hadn’t had any experience hiring and managing. So yeah I hired some people that didn’t work out and had to get rid of them and that's a very painful thing. So in making mistakes over and over and over again and then realising I must find a better way to screen, vet, interview, all of that, to help ensure you get the right people.

PL: Team building is an art and people often talk about gut instinct and alchemy. Now though algorithms are being used to build models that can read people and their potential in a more scientific way. Meet Alistair Shepherd founder of Saberr who’s using algorithms to try and create perfect teams.

Alistair Shepherd: It works by trying to identify the mathematical elements that make a team work and we think that behaviour and your preference towards certain behaviours can be measured. And we also believe that values can be measured and more specifically value alignment can be measured. And so we try to quantify those two elements under the preface that what gets measured gets managed.

PL: Okay so this is analysing the individual members of teams?

AS: Yes as part of the whole. So our goal is to end up measuring the entire team but in order to do that you need to understand its constituent parts.

PL: Okay. So what sort of things are you asking?

AS: So we ask non-conventional questions, things like, “Do you like horror movies? Do spelling mistakes annoy you?” through to the more sort of familiar, “How well does the word ‘shy’ describe your behaviour in group settings?”

PL: When you’ve analysed people, their behaviours, their values, how does that then feed into arriving at a perfect group that will work really well together?

AS: So what we’re trying to understand is the nature of the relationships between individuals and whether they will end up having an effective long-term relationship. And I say ‘relationship’ because that's what it is. By ‘effective’ I mean the ability to still perform under varying degrees of stress over a period of time.

PL: Can we just kind of go back to defining how you would establish the values in an individual team?

AS: Right so we looked for, and this is I guess the sort of fairly novel approach that we’ve taken, we looked to build this model for patterns in online dating and the fundamentals of a romantic relationship are actually the same as the fundamentals of any good relationship. And we defined a successful online match as two people who had met online and then closed their account. That's a significant step, it’s saying, “You are the best person I've met, significantly better than anyone else I've met already,” and so when we looked at those successful matches we found really clear patterns in the way that they behaved online and certain questions that they answered. “Do you like horror movies?” is a classic example. I don't know why this question is so important I just know that it is.

PL: Okay. And you know this how?

AS: It was very predictive in that successful long-term match.

PL: Defining precise values is very difficult so this tool aims to discover whether people have complementary values.

AS: It’s less important to actually know what those values are, because it’s very difficult to quantify values. If you ask me what my values are I’ll tell you every value ever, you know, do I value trust? Yes of course I do. Do I value freedom? Yes. Do I value trust more than freedom? I don't know, maybe. It’s difficult to think about and we don’t do it naturally. But when you meet somebody and you go, “Yes I like you, I don’t really know why but I've only met you for five seconds and I like you,” we’re subconsciously picking up all the sorts of cues about shared values and we try to do that from a more objective or quantified standpoint.

PL: Over the last year Ryan has been using this algorithmic model for teambuilding at MyBuilder.

RN: We have our whole team and we’ve asked everybody on the team to fill out the survey so then you can see, you know the people and you can see what Saberr says and what you know to be true and most of the time it’s very accurate. So for example there's a chart that shows who works well together or who’s likely to be able to resolve conflicts well or have difficulty and then we can look at them and say, yes, these two people do have difficulty resolving issues, or these people work very well together, and it can be very dramatic. So we have two guys who have 100% score and then we have people who like an eight. And so it’s interesting that the two guys that have this 100% score they do get into conflict but when they do it’s always resolved really easily, even if it’s a big disagreement because it’s the designer and one of our developers, one of our software engineers.

PL: Okay so passionate, smart people?

RN: Yes, so they work together a lot on projects and they have disagreements about how things should happen and both of them might get into difficult positions where they can't resolve issues with other people but with themselves they always resolve them. And then when we’re recruiting if we’re thinking about offering someone the job we’ll give them the questionnaire, they’ll fill it out and then we’ll see their scores next to the existing team and pay close attention to who they might work with and see if that's likely to be an issue. Now you can't rely on it 100% but if we have doubts and it reinforces those doubts we won't hire them. If we’re really sure and Saberr says something different then we just dig a little bit further, maybe we do a little trial and we say why don’t you come in and do some freelance work, or depending on what they do. So it’s just another kind of, data point is not exactly the right word, but another piece of insight that we have that helps us decide who to hire.

PL: It sounds impressive and Ryan’s obviously satisfied but how well does Saberr’s model work elsewhere?

AS: It works surprisingly well, we’ve managed to predict things like the attrition rate of individual employees very precisely. We’ve managed to predict key performance indicators of employees. So to give you a tenable example our very first experiment was to see if we could predict which team would win a business plan competition. It was a business plan competition at the University of Bristol, there were eight teams with about eight people in each team and the competition was a week long. We asked our strange questions like do you like horror movies, to every individual before they arrived at the event and once we knew who was in which team we ranked from best fit to worst fit and made a prediction on day one of the event. We didn’t know anything about their skills, their experiences, their demographic or the ideas that they were working on, all we knew was the measure of their dynamics within the team. And we were correct in predicting the winning team but more interestingly we were precisely correct in the ranking of all eight teams come the final.

PL: According to Alistair’s research through Saberr a key mistake managers can make is to put too much focus on individual performance over the performance of the team as a whole, so while it might seem clever to put your smartest people in a team together research by Linda Gratton, Professor of Management Practice at London Business School, found that the higher the number of experts in a team the more difficult team collaboration can become. So your star performers won't necessarily make a star team.

RN: We’ve interviewed people, I can think of a few where we’ve looked at them and we’ve said, “Wow this is a really outstanding software engineer, but they're not right for us.” So we have had…

PL: Because you just can't see them working with the people you've got?

RN: Yeah, they wouldn’t work well with them or maybe they want to occupy a role that someone else has as well and so you don’t want too many cooks in the kitchen, you might say, well this would be a good lead developer or a CTO, or whatever, and they’re going to be at odds with somebody else who’s in that role.

PL: So you’re really clear about defining roles and making sure your role is complementary?

RN: Yes.

PL: Gareth agrees, up to a point. For him creating teams made up exclusively of top performance isn’t necessarily a mistake but it definitely does potentially present a much bigger management challenge.

GJ: Now that doesn’t mean to say that you can't put together high octane teams. So if you think about the pharmaceutical business by the way, I'm thinking of a company I really admire, Novo Nordisk, which is the world’s largest producer of insulin. They have a research team called the Diabetes Research team, I have done some work with them. You’re in a room of ten or 11 really clever, obsessive people and the team leader luckily is a highly gifted team leader but keeping that high octane team on the road is really tough but it’s absolutely critical for the future success of Novo Nordisk. So I'm not against putting together high octane teams, I'm just being realistic about what they're like, you need to know that they will be difficult to lead, they’ll be full of cognitive conflict, certainly in the music business I've had to step between executives who are about to have a fist fight over which single to take off an album. It doesn’t make them a dysfunctional team by the way it means they really, really care about these artists!

PL: Here’s where effective communication comes in and many studies have concluded that it is patterns of communication that are the vital factor here when it comes to high team productivity.

GJ: Friendship is a very, very complex concept. Friendship is the most commonly occurring human relationship and yet it’s probably the one we understand the least. If you just think for a moment about your own friendship network it’s complicated isn’t it – old friends, new friends, male friends, female friends, work friends, sports friends, political friends and friends you’d like to get closer to, friends you're definitely not likely to get closer to. It’s complicated. Now friendship at work is also complicated and you need, as the team leader, to think about how friendly do you want this team to become? Do they need to share informal information, do they need to chat? If so you need to create a kind of social architecture in which those informal conversations take place.

PL: And build like it.

GJ: And build like it. You need to put time into that by the way. You need to put time into it. Building friendship takes time. I used to say to one of the previous chief executives at Unilever that they should close down Unilever House on Blackfriars Bridge and send people straight to the Black Friar which is the pub across the road because I said that's where all the interesting conversations take place. Now I was being provocative of course.

PL: But it’s key?

GJ: But it’s key.

PL: Research at MIT proved that taking measures as simple as organising the day around a group coffee break had a marked positive impact on the team productivity. Ryan Notz agrees the MyBuilder office is very busy but he likes to keep the atmosphere informal and collaborative.

RN: My kind of philosophy is that work shouldn’t be horrible and then you get off work and you can go and get drunk together and make it all better, it’s throughout the day we try to have fun doing the work. We’re kind of creating an environment where people can enjoy what they do and I think if you start out getting the right people, and we always say about especially the tech team that these guys would be doing this in their spare time if it wasn't a marketable skill.

PL: Because they just love it.

RN: They just love it and that's the great thing about finding people who love what they do. The hard part is getting the right people in and then it’s just about just a little bit of finessing and getting them focused on the same goals and communicating the business vision and then they naturally do the right things.

PL: So we know that good communication is vital but as business is increasingly done at a distance communication can't always be done in person so does that matter and what does it mean for team success?

AS: So the key is in communication patterns and there's been a lot of research around this, Alex Pentland from MIT wrote a lot about communication patterns being the biggest indicator of performance. And communication is now being made easier and easier via the digital media.

PL: Yes, so I think some of the MIT work was very heavily focused on the face-to-face, the gestures, how close you are, so is seeing people really, actually whether it’s on a screen or person-to-person really key to a team working well do you think?

AS: It’s undoubtedly a real benefit but it’s not crucial. But there are things that you just can't capture at the moment through digital mediums, things like gestures, facial expressions, small things that you just pick up when you’re in a room together that get lost, even through a video call. So it’s helpful but it’s not mandatory.

PL: Here’s Gareth Jones’ checklist for effective long distance teamwork.

GJ: One – face-to-face first. You see the idea that human relationships are mediated by technology is not new; Napoleon conducted a love affair with Josephine for 30 years, mainly by letter! But he'd met her first so face-to-face first. The second thing is when you do meet people you have to intensify your social interactions. So you have to get closer quicker. So hang around with people, spend time, go for dinner, take them to the theatre, go to a show, listen to a lecture together. Then the third point is to defend you against the finance department, the costs of a dysfunctional virtual team are greater than the costs of bringing them together.

PL: Alistair sums up the key point, individual talent and reasoning contribute to a relatively limited degree to team success while successful communication patterns are far more crucial.

AS: When you’ve got people who have got very similar CVs how do you choose who to hire and how do you know in advance who will have the best performance? We think that comes down to fit and by fit I mean the right behavioural balance and the right value alignment.

PL: So an effective team seems to rest on a trinity of excellent group communication, shared values and just the right degree of difference and diversity to inject a little grit into the oyster – easy! Take a look at our page on Team Building for links to more research and factsheets.

Next time I’ll be looking at HR’s role in business partnerships. Thanks for listening.

Further information

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