Sunday, July 25, 2010

Rules of Play

Just because a High Performance team environment is not accomplished through "command and control of workers" does not mean there are not performance and behavioral expectations. In fact, clear expectations are the foundation of high performance.

All teams or groups perform their work within a set of clearly-defined boundaries. Let's take basketball as an example.

Basketball is played on a court 94 feet by 5 feet. When a player steps outside of those boundaries, the ball is "turned over" to the opposing team. In addition, there are numerous other rules and regulations which govern the play. Whenever those rules are violated (one player hits another player who was shooting the ball), there is a consequence which punishes the team that violated the rules. The boundaries, rules, and regulations in basketball establish fairness and consistency in the game.

Workgroups or teams have boundaries as well. These could be thought of as "rules of play" and establish order, predictability, and stability in the team's performance. Their absence would result in chaos, disorder, and poor performance. Boundaries, rules, regulations, expectations, or whatever we want to call them must exist to create a high-performance environment.

Until next time...

Sheryl Tuchman