What high-performing teams do differently

Why do some teams get extraordinary results, while others struggle just to finish mundane tasks?

Why do certain teams glide to victory, while others can’t even cross the finish line?  What’s the difference?

Here you go:

50% of the difference between high-performing teams and low-performing teams is the quality of communication. ~ Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Over the past decade, our team has been developing new ways to measure and improve team engagement. We found communication patterns inside high-performing teams.

Working closely with teams inside Porsche and Visa, not to mention thousands of small businesses, we discovered:

Every team has measurable communication patterns. Once you understand those patterns, you can help each person on the team raise performance and results. 

For instance, a team of strong managers may struggle with too many egos and loud voices, which leads to unhealthy competitiveness. Or a department of detail-oriented accountants can get so caught up in rigid minutia that they’re terrified to try something new. In either case, the team’s productivity plummets. Even on the most balanced teams, personalities can clash, which leads to misunderstandings and conflict.

On the other hand if certain team members are creative thinkers, expected to be relentlessly meticulous, they’ll fail. 

Great teams aren’t built on similarities. 

Great teams are built on diversity. 

What’s the way YOUR team is most likely to wildly overdeliver on the next project?

Once you identify and understand these subtle but crucial patterns, it becomes far easier to improve results (not to mention overall happiness!).

Over the past decade, we’ve measured over a million professionals inside companies such as Whole Foods and GE, as well as thousands of small businesses. Based on these studies, we created a simple but incredibly effective tool to map your team’s hidden communication patterns. 

Here’s an example:

This group has an extremely high use of Trust and Mystique. 

Here’s how that looks when these percentages are converted into a more visual way to understand the data (with one dot for each team member):

How does the team represented in this heat map compare to your team? Let’s find out.

Your goal for this exercise is to learn and leverage the Advantages of your group. This exercise will help you complete your do‑it-yourself heat map. 

Before we get started– has your team done the Fascinate test yet? If not, here’s your first step.

A heat map is a visual summary of your entire group’s Advantages, by putting your spectrum of scores on a blank version of the Archetype Matrix.

Now, here’s a blank “Do-It-Yourself” heat map. 

And finally, here’s an example of how a team can fill in a blank heat map, with names.

This will give you an immediate snapshot to predict how any team is most likely to solve problems, deal with conflict, and bond as a group. Think of this as your team’s “recipe.” It identifies how each person communicates, so you can start to understand why the group as a whole excels in some areas but not others.

When everyone in the group knows each person’s communication Advantages, the team moves forward with less friction and more efficiency. People are optimistic and engaged. Team nirvana.

Don’t know the most valuable advantages of each person on your team? Purchase assessments for the entire team here.


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About the author

Sally Hogshead

Sally skyrocketed to the top of the advertising world in her early 20s, fascinating millions of consumers for clients such as MINI Cooper and Coca-Cola. Since then, she’s published two New York Times bestsellers on the science of fascination, and is one of only 172 living members in the Speaker Hall of Fame. Over a million professionals have taken the Fascination Advantage® personality test to discover how others perceive their communication.

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