What Makes Peak-Performing Teams Tick?
How Leaders Can Win The Mental Game
Bill Cole, MS, MA
Copyright © Bill Cole, MS, MA 2005,
2008 All rights reserved.
Not all teams are created equal. Some teams clearly ARE better
than others. They get more done, and with less squabbling.
Still, there are instances of teams performing heroically
even though they may all dislike each other. Keeping in mind
there are various definitions of teams and their purposes,
we can paint a fairly clear picture of what we WANT in the
Here are 17 things we know that peak-performing teams have
1. All teams experience conflict. The successful ones
manage it and succeed in spite of it.
2. All teams have weaknesses. The successful ones minimize
these and play to their strengths to succeed.
3. All teams are conflicted over team versus individual
loyalty and goals. The successful ones resolve this, keeping
both intact, but championing team outcomes.
4. All teams have players with individual styles that clash
with others. The successful teams manage to blend all
styles and honor the differences so the team energies and
capabilities are enhanced.
5. All teams have moments of truth. The successful
ones step up and use them to grow and achieve.
6. All teams have clashes of individual values and philosophies.
The successful ones either look past these or use them to
7. All teams have people with egos who want to be in charge
or be right. Successful ones channel these egos into productive
8. All teams first start out with varied goals, directions,
energies and ambitions. The successful ones direct their
energies into a common charter.
9. All teams involve initial power moves by various individuals.
The successful ones resolve these imbalances or remove the
parties causing the disruption.
10. All teams have personality clashes. The successful
ones create acceptance of differences and resolve this energy
into team traction.
11. All teams have differences of opinion and in ways of
operating. The successful ones realize that in diversity
lies strength of creativity and synergy. They embrace variety
12. All teams have challenges in managing deliverables.
The successful ones create clear communication and systems
that guarantee timeliness and accountability.
13. All teams have issues around roles and responsibilities.
The successful ones sharpen blurred and confusing roles and
increase personal and team accountability.
14. All teams have staffing challenges. The successful
ones carefully match individual abilities with team needs.
15. All teams have people who dislike personal feedback
and measurement. The successful ones create sensitive,
intelligent feedback loops that allow for mid-course evaluation
and correction, including praise for jobs well done.
16. All teams encounter problems. The successful ones
create processes and open systems for solving them.
17. All teams have morale problems. The successful
ones value everyone and their contributions and create ways
to celebrate successes.
What kind of team do you want? A peak-performing one I imagine.
What are you willing to do to create that peak-performing
team? The successful leader envisions the ideal team, plans
for it and then goes out and builds it. You can too.
To learn more about how team building can help your organization
reach its potential, visit Bill Cole, MS, MA, the Mental Game
Coach at www.mentalgamecoach.com/Programs/MentalGameOfTeamBuilding.html
This article covers only one small part of the mental game.
A complete mental training program includes motivation and goal-setting,
pre-event mental preparation, post-event review and analysis,
mental strengthening, self-regulation training, breath control
training, motor skill training, mental rehearsal, concentration
training, pressure-proofing, communication training, confidence-building,
breaking through mental barriers, slump prevention, mental toughness
training, flow training, relaxation training, momentum training,
psych-out proofing and media training.
For a comprehensive overview of your mental abilities you need
an assessment instrument that identifies your complete mental
strengths and weaknesses. For a free, easy-to-take 65-item sport
psychology assessment tool you can score right on the spot,
This assessment gives you a quick snapshot of your strengths
and weaknesses in your mental game. You can use this as a guide
in creating your own mental training program, or as the basis
for a program you undertake with Bill Cole, MS, MA to improve
your mental game. This assessment would be an excellent first
step to help you get the big picture about your mental game.
Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority on peak performance, mental toughness
and coaching, is founder and President of the International Mental Game Coaching
Bill is also founder and CEO of William B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps
organizations and professionals achieve more success in business, life and sports.
He is a multiple Hall of Fame honoree, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published
book author and articles author, and has coached at the highest levels of major-league
pro sports, big-time college athletics and corporate America. For a free, extensive
article archive, or for questions and comments visit him at www.MentalGameCoach.com.
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