Examining High Performance Team Building

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Table of Contents Introduction Company Background- Selection Process- Trust- Constructive Conflicts- Compelling Purpose- Reward System- Conclusion- Recommendations- References-

Introduction

As Jon Katzenbach and Douglas Smith from Mckinsey & Company cited in (Kinicki & Fugate, 2011) suggests a team is “ A small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.” However team building is a thing of the past, now the organisations believe in creating a High Performance Team, As (Wageman et.al 2008) describes it as a team who not only consistently meets but also exceeds the stakeholder’s expectations, during this process the individuals enhance their own capabilities by continuously learning and personal development. With the rapidly changing business environment, the organization aims to build High Performance team which can easily adapt to the business changes, increasing competition and work pressure and help the organization to get a competitive advantage over others.

Company Background-

Jet Airways is India’s Premium airline company, which operates on domestic and International sectors, comprising of 22 International sectors across 04 continents and 74 sectors across India. Jet Airways are known for its premium service and excellent customer care. Where every flight that takes off requires a good team work, whether with the crew involved or a different set of team comprising of captains, crew members, ground handling, etc., who needs to work as a team for a particular flight leg. During the Global financial crisis (GFC), where many flights being cancelled, and people were getting laid off, to preserve the passenger’s expectations from the airline, the management came up with a team of crew members in each base called as a Task force, who could be depended upon if any shortage of crew, or who could be contacted to operate a flight at the last minute due to weather changes, or operating a charter flight, or inaugural of a new sector. An effective team can have a lasting impression on the passengers, with prompt service delivery. Creating a High Performance Team requires to fill few major criteria, a criteria which define the purpose of shaping a high performance team. The main criteria are:
  • Selection of the team members
  • Trust
  • Constructive Conflict.
  • Having a compelling purpose.
  • Reward systems.

Selection Process-

Jet Airways being the premium airline for almost 2 decades in the Indian skies, has a tougher and lengthy selection process of its crew members. Where the selection process involves scrutinizing the best candidates to join the airline. Physically fit and appealing personality is not the only criteria, aspiring crew need to have a good reasoning and situational handling techniques. Candidates with prior flying experience is always been an advantage to be selected As (Wageman, Nunes, Burruss & Hackman, 2008) suggests Selection depends upon Knowledge, experience, skills, representation of key perspectives and functional or operational expertise are vital. In Jet Airways Task force team- The higher management selection of a group of highly efficient crew members, depending upon their work dedication, situational handling technique, expertise in first aid and safety and also good negotiation skills as well as good soft skills. It was a team of a mix of personalities to handle and tackle most situations. The higher management of Jet Airways followed certain plan to create a High performance team such as
  • Team charter plan for the Task force, which could operate who shares the information with each other and makes a decision making as a team work.
  • Team Composition- Which describes different personalities, knowledge, skills, abilities and experiences of each crew member was taken into consideration.
  • Team Adaptive capacity- A team which shows an adaptive capacity to adapt to the changes such as a last minute change of flight destinations and operate on a short crew.
In Rowing Team- Selection of our rowing team had a similar situation, when our captain, first selected few team members depending upon his knowledge and previous bonding with certain members. Later deciding upon others skills and expertise. Strategies used in HPT- Selection process in Jet Airways initial recruitment have a psychometric test, followed by a yearly refresher exam in psychometric analyzing, leadership workshop and situational handling. It helps in reflecting one’s skills and personality types and discovering one's strengths and weakness. What Went Wrong? As (Warner, 1995, p.17) suggests that creating a one type of team can’t be a solution to all the different situations. Different kinds of situations needs different approaches to tackle it. Selecting the best and experience crew members dint always work well, as most of the senior crew members have their own work style and prefers to work individually which believes it improves their self-esteem. After the selecting and recruiting the crew members, the crew was positioned to different bases, accordingly to flight requirement, resulting in improper distribution of crew members.

Trust-

In any teamwork or team building, Trust plays a key ingredient. As explained by (Kinicki & Fugate, 2011. p 238) “Trust is a reciprocal faith that the intentions and behaviours of another person will consider the implications for you.” When a person says “Trust me”, we usually don’t, unless the person’s behaviour and actions are inclined towards gaining the trust. In Jet Airways Task Force Team- Having a trust factor towards the management for our job security during times of recession and layoffs was difficult. Where many employees are cynical about trusting the management about retaining all employees. To build the trust in the management, the management had open communication days, where we seniors could meet the higher management teams and express our and junior crew’s feelings and fears and vulnerability to job security. Being vulnerable and having an effective communication helps in building trust. As (Stewart, 2001) suggests beyond competence, community and commitment, trust of the course mainly depends upon the communication. The management promised that no employees would be laid off, instead would encourage employees to take a leave without pay for a year, which most of the employees were satisfied with as they could have a chance to do higher studies or plan a maternal leave and still have their job secured. In Rowing Team- In our rowing team, few team members had a fear of water, and initially we all spilled our own vulnerability and fears of others. It takes courage to accept your flaws and fears in front of all, it helps to empathize towards others. Our comfort level and preferences were decided. As in the rowing team, some members preferred to handle the presentation part rather than rowing. We as a team trusted each other that they would support each other, whether co-ordinating the rowing technique or helping with the presentation. Motivation from different members of the team, allows to lift up the entire team spirit. Strategies used in HPT- Jet Airways always believes in creating the Joy of flying, whether for the passenger or its employees. As (Wageman, Nunes, Burruss & Hackman, 2008) suggest that the senior leadership teams need to get all the support it requires, as these are teams that steer the organization towards a profitable. The main strategies Jet Airways uses to build a HPT among the crew members are:
  • Being Empathetic
  • Encouraging Open communication.
  • Provide support
  • Work towards employee satisfaction.
  • Being truthful about situations.

Constructive Conflicts-

Conflicts can arise in any situations, whether it’s in a team, organisation, and family or among friends. As (Wall and Callister, 1995, p517) defines conflict as a process in which one person or party perceives its interests which being opposed or negatively affected by other party or person. Conflicts happen on regular intervals, but utilizing those conflicts constructively helps to create a bonding with the team members. Well-handled conflicts can be constructive towards the team building, if not it could be destructive. Constructive conflicts often lead to innovation of good ideas, brainstorming for a common solution. In Jet Airways Task force team- To change the conflicts into a constructive approach, trust in each other again plays an important role. Conflicts among the arrogant captains and crew members is common, when captains would want to speed up the flying time by minimising the block time for the flight, not realising the pressure and stress on the crew to deliver a quality service in a shorter time frame, and upsetting the passengers eventually. However, the trust between the captains and the senior crew, allows to deliver a prompt service in the short span of time, the crew members trust that the captain would give them extra time if required and support them incase any issues arise with the passengers. In Rowing team- In the rowing team, we had our share of conflicts, when initially each we had conflicts towards the rowing coordination or selecting the movie for our presentation. However, later we started trusting each other decisions and working towards a common goal. We started using the Dialectic method to resolve the conflicts, where we would discuss the opposing viewpoints of all the members and then come to a common decision. The built trust in our team and the commitment towards our common goal, we turned the conflicts into a positive feedback system. Strategies used in HPT- Having an Openness to accept your own mistakes as well as active listening to another person’s point of view, It is very important to listen to other person’s opinions to come to a decision making and a come with a common interest to resolve the conflict.

Compelling Purpose-

To form a High Performance Team, the team must firstly find a compelling purpose to do so. According to (Wageman, Nunes, Burruss & Hackman, 2008, p 59), The main compelling purpose to create a HPT are: Consequential, Challenging and Clear. It acts like a driving force to motivate the team to work together. In Jet Airways Task force team- During the Global financial crisis, where most of the airlines in India were going bankrupt, as the falling economy and the low passenger loads. Jet Airways had to attract the passenger by providing excellent service. Where the Task force crew were on assigned on prime flights to deliver excellent service and create a brand loyalty for the passengers. It was a consequential and challenging situation for the airline to sustain. It acted as a compelling purpose for all the staff. In Rowing team- Our compelling purpose of the rowing team, was to perform better in the rowing. Improve better than the previous week, and win the race. On the presentation side, we expected all the team members to be creative and do and try ideas that we never tried before. We were determined to perform better either on the rowing or during the presentation. Another compelling purpose of our team has been basically just to enjoy this unique experience of this paper and share our experiences with others. Strategies used in HPT- The strategy of the airline, to woo the passengers worked well. Going the extra mile to make a passenger feel at home and efficient service and passenger loyalty helped the airline to sail through the financial crisis.

Reward System-

Rewarding and recognition is really important to make team members feel appreciated and acknowledged. Rewarding helps the team members to feel motivated to work better, it also acts as a driving force for other members to work and act well in the team. Appreciation and acknowledgement also act as a reward for the individual. As (Brounstein, 2002) illustrates that a behaviour that is rewarded is repeated in positive reinforcement. When an individual in a team performs well, rewarding him/her creates a motivation for him as well for others to keep succeeding and doing the good job. A pat on his back or an acknowledge or a monetary reward makes the person to work harder to maintain the appreciation he gained. In Jet Airways Task force- Rewarding the best performer crew of each base has always been a practice in Jet Airways, Getting an appreciation letter from the Managers and if received on a regular basis, the top crew across the network, is invited for lunch along with the Chairman and Higher management. Bringing a sense of pride and boost on self-esteem. In rowing team- In our rowing team, when an individual does something extra for the team such as arrange the T-shirts, organise the food or help each other for the presentation, gets accolades and appreciation from all the team members. Rewarding gestures like getting food or chocolates during the team meetings and bananas for the team after the rowing. Motivates the entire team spirit to perform better. It helps in creating a bonding and build a rapport with each other. Recognizing the individual achievements, increases the team’s value and passion. A trophy given to all the members of the team at the end of the race, and having a celebration for the entire team and families helps to create a positive feeling. Strategies used in HPT- Jet Airways have always rewarded the crew and other staff on fair and deserving grounds. Crew who has gone the extra mile consistently in providing premium service to the passenger. Rewarding the extra efforts made by the crew has always been acknowledged by the management. Increasing the crew’s morale and self-esteem.

Conclusion-

As the business environment is changing rapidly across the globe, no longer can teams handle bigger challenges, therefore more companies are developing a high performance team. Trust plays an important role in deciding the team makeover, where the vulnerability of switching the jobs or uncertainty of being laid off always playing in the mind of the employees. A high performance team is developed by right selection, coaching and directing them to perform in the expected way. To create a HPT we must find the main expectations from the team, what and how the duties would be performed, as well build up trust and vulnerability towards other members. A High performance team doesn’t have to be the best of the employee, but a mix of employees, but having a right attitude towards the common goal.

Recommendations-

As forming a HPT is necessary for most of the companies at present. The management has to choose the right balance between the people and the skills they possess. Having a blend of positive attitudes and desired behaviour. However the management of Jet Airways must also
  • Keep an eye for any Derailers in the team, any team members being pessimistic about the ideas and suggestions. Firstly must be consulted and briefed about the behaviour. If it persists, he should be removed from the team.
  • Distribution of experienced crew members across the different bases. Having a balance of experienced and the new crew.
  • Feedback and suggestions should not only be from the top to bottom of office hierarchy, but also the from bottom to top management.
  • Periodic meeting with the higher management, strengths the trust and confidence in the senior management.
  • A regular team building exercise or games should be planned, which would help to create a HPT, and bonding among the members.
  • Breaking from the monotonous work schedule and being more creative by engaging the team with outings and trips as a reward system.

References-

Brounstein, M. (2002). Managing teams for dummies. New York: Wiley Pub. Keen, T. (2003). Creating effective & successful teams. West Lafayette, Ind.: Ichor Business Books. Kinicki, A., & Fugate, M. (2011). Organizational Behavior: Key Concepts, Skills & Best Practices (5th Ed.). McGraw-Hill Education. Stewart, T.A (2001). Trust me on this. In The future of leadership, Ed. Bennis, Spreitzer & Cummings. Pp.66-77. San Francisco Wageman, R., Nunes, D., Burruss, J., & Hackman, R. (2008). Senior leadership teams. Boston, Mass.: Harvard Business School Press. Wall, J. A., & Callister, R. R. (1995). Conflict and Its Management. Journal of Management, 21 (3), 515–558. doi:10.1177/014920639502100306 Internet References Isixsigma.com (2014). High-performance Teams: Understanding Team Cohesiveness. Retrieved 16 November 2014, from https://www.isixsigma.com/implementation/teams/high-performance-teams-understanding-team-cohesiveness/ Warner, M. J. (1995). Why teams fail, how teams succeed. Executive Excellence, 12 (6), 17. Retrieved from https://ezproxy.aut.ac.nz/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/204629410?accountid=8440
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Examining High Performance Team Building. (2017, Jun 26). Retrieved February 22, 2024 , from
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