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Measuring the Performance of Groups

A recent post discussed the impact of leading a ‘group’, as opposed to a ‘team’, of individuals.

Altris work regularly with teams on how to turn themselves into ‘high performing teams’ and we have identified a number of key elements based on our (and others) research that contribute towards high performance as a team.

Now and again we are faced with a situation where the way a particular area is organised is such that the leader is actually managing a ‘group’ rather than a ‘team’. In these situations the elements that are relevant for a high performing team are not relevant for a high performing group.  We are then asked by these leaders – “How do I know if I have a high performing group, and what can I do to improve performance?”

For clarity, we differentiate between a team and a group on the basis that while a team has many shared elements to what it does (purpose; goals; interdependency for success; accountability; (sometimes) reward; and identity), a group tends to have individual equivalents to these and members of the group don’t need to rely on each other to be able to achieve their goals.

A team can measure its success through looking at how well it operates collectively. A group can validly measure its success by the level of willingness that members have to engage with each other. Structures and processes are relatively easily implemented, but voluntary engagement is hard to design when there is no compelling reason to be interdependent as is the case for a group.

Looking for research online related to what makes a high performing ‘group’ doesn’t provide much assistance as most articles are about ‘teams’, so here are some views on how you might measure performance of your ‘group’ of individuals:

Some things to look for, and measure, in determining the level of performance of your group:

  • Group members are clear on the purpose of the group as a whole
  • Group members are clear on their personal purpose (what their role is intended to deliver as an outcome) and how this fits with the overall group/department/organisation’s purpose
  • They have clear goals and objectives, and know how their performance will be measured and rewarded
  • They receive regular coaching and feedback on their performance
  • There are constructive relationships between members of the group which help to deliver the desired outcomes
  • Individual rewards and recognition are seen to be fair and appropriate
  • Group members are clear on how the way they operate together e.g in meetings, helps to contribute to the achievement of the group’s overall purpose
  • There is an open sharing of tools and information that assists others in the group to function well
  • There is a feeling of ‘belonging’ to something bigger i.e. being part of a high performing group provides a level of social support and connection
  • Group members help out others in the group e.g. where there is a resource shortage and a key piece of the group’s work needs to be completed
  • There is clarity and understanding of the role of each individual in the group to avoid unnecessary duplication of effort or activity
  • Individuals feel good to be associated with the group i.e. the group has a good ‘brand’ within the company

Taking some time to assess how the members of your group rate themselves and you as their leader in relation to these areas will provide you with a good sense of the level of performance of your group and identify the areas you may need to focus on to improve the group’s performance.

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