SCORE Framework for Developing High Performance Teams

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Introduction

“Every company faces specific performance challenges for which teams are the most practical and powerful vehicle at top management’s disposal.”

- Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith
(The Discipline of Teams, Harvard Business Review, March-April 1993)

Many of us find ourselves working on teams these days, and are probably quite familiar with the advantages and frustrations of this type of work. In many ways working on teams can be a positive and productive experience. It provides opportunities for collaboration, the synergy of diverse skills, and collegial support. However, team work also raises issues of less autonomy, accountability to colleagues, the requirement of frequent communication, and group problem solving. A consistent challenge is getting individuals to work together effectively on teams when individual members have differences in communication styles, project management priorities, time management, information gathering and decision making.

From our consulting experience in Developing High Performance Teams in both regional and global corporations, we found that most if not all of their senior leadership teams advocate teamwork. And they should. Teamwork represents a set of values that encourage listening and responding constructively to views expressed by others, giving others the benefit of the doubt, providing support, and recognizing the interests and achievements of others. Such values help teams perform, and they also promote individual performance as well as the performance of an entire organization. But teamwork values by themselves are not exclusive to teams, nor are they enough to ensure team performance.

The SCORE™ Framework for Developing High Performance Teams

From experience gathered through team effectiveness consulting engagements, it is found that a high-performing team demonstrates a high level of synergism – the simultaneous actions of separate entities that together have a greater effect than the sum of their individual efforts. It is possible, for example, for a team’s efforts to exemplify an equation such as 2 + 2 = 5!

High-performing teams require a complementary set of characteristics known collectively as “SCORE™” (See Figure 1):

  1. Cohesive Strategy and shared purpose,
  2. Clearly defined roles and responsibilities,
  3. Open and transparent communication,
  4. Rapid response in adapting to a changing environment, and
  5. Exemplary and effective team leadership

 

Figure 1 – The SCORE Framework for High Performance Team


 

Reference: Sattar Bawany (2014), “Building High Performance Teams Using SCORE™ Framework” in Talent Management Excellence, Issue 04.14 (April 2014).

 

The characteristics of each element of SCORE™ are outlined in the Table 1 below.

Table 1

Characteristics


Descriptions


S: Strategy and Purpose

High-performing teams with a cohesive strategy and team purpose will demonstrate why they are in existence by articulating a strong, uniting purpose that is common to all team members.  They will describe how they work together by defining team values and ground rules or team charter.  Finally, they will be clear about what they do by defining key result areas.

C: Clear Roles and Responsibilities

Successful teams determine overall team competencies and then clearly define individual member roles and responsibilities.  High-performing teams realistically examine each individual’s responsibilities in terms of personality, interest, and ability, resulting in an accurate understanding of each member’s accountability and contribution to the team.

O: Developing Open Communication & Trust

Communication is the key component in facilitating successful team performance; its lack limits team success.  Effective communication relies on the proper use of communication channels such as e-mail and voicemail. 

R: Rapid Response

A high-performing team needs to be adaptable and responds quickly, as necessary, to changes in the environment, using creativity and “outside the box” thinking.  When faced with a problem, these teams brainstorm possible solutions and create innovative resolutions.

E: Exemplary and Effective  Leadership

An effective team leader is able to adjust his or her style as necessary depending on the task at hand and the skill level of each team member performing that task.  The team leader also plays a critical role in raising morale by providing positive feedback and coaching team members to improve performance. 

 

Conclusion

In high-performing teams, leadership shifts during the stages of team development based on team needs. Unlike organizational leadership, which remains somewhat constant, team leadership can shift from very directing, when the team is being formed, to more delegating, when the team is functioning effectively. To transform into a high performance team, an easily implementable framework such as SCORE™ would assist towards achieving that end goal.