Team Performance – Signal to Noise Ratio


I’ve been re-reading L. RIchard Hackman’s book Leading Teams. If you have not read it, do. In Chapter 8 – Thinking Differently about Teams, Hackman states that even with excellent teams, the impediments to excellent performance are often exogenous-outside the team’s control. Management’s role here is to remove impediments, to create the conditions required for the team to perform. The following quote, in my view, just about says it all.

“Work teams… are somewhat akin to audio amplifiers: Whatever passes through the device-be it signal or noise-comes out louder.”

Building a cross-functional team without creating the organizational environment in which they can truly perform is a recipe for failure. If my signal to noise ratio is low, what am I going to do about it? Think about your own organization and what impediments to performance need to be removed.

  1. If my team comes to me with a problem, an impediment, what is my response?
  2. How effectively am I removing obstacles for my team?
  3. What can I do as manager or leader to allow my team to deliver faster, better, sustainably?
  4. What is the effect on my team’s motivation when I remove an impediment?
  5. Does my team TRUST that I will act with urgency to remove their top impediments?

Shouldn’t this culture be part of every organization’s leadership, at all levels?

We can all get better at this. Food for thought…

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3 thoughts on “Team Performance – Signal to Noise Ratio

  1. Pingback: Retrospective & Happy Holidays « rajile

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