October 17, 2018

This is how you create the foundation for a high performing team

High Performing team, this terms is appearing more and more often. The phenomenon has been around a lot longer because a High Performing team actually entails a team that is really effective. A team that is there for each other, through thick and thin. A team that is continuously improving itself. Both each individual team member as the team as a whole. A team that loves to try new things in order to become even more effective and efficient. A team that always has the ultimate target in mind, that can easily read the wishes and needs of the customers and uses this as a starting point. A team that will not be stopped by bureaucracy, but indeed tries to reduce this. Such a team is a High Performing team.

Trust is the ultimate foundation

But how do you build such a High Performing team? A lot has been written about this. At Google they conducted for example an extensive research a few years ago into the issue what makes a manager a good manager: “Oxygen research”.
This research got a sequel, named “Aristoteles”, because of the famous quote by Aristoteles: “The total is more than the sum of the parts”.

At Google they believe that a team can do a lot more than all separate individuals added together. A few aspects emerged from the researches of Google. You could see them as preconditions for a High Performing team.
One of these aspects is trust. And it is my opinion that this is indeed the ultimate foundation.

In his book “The Five Dysfunctions Of Teamwork”, Patrick Iencioni also described that trust is the foundation for a good cooperation. Without trust there is no feedback. Team members do not feel safe and therefore they do not dare to give feedback. Without this feedback there is no commitment and without commitment, nobody takes responsibility so the results will eventually lag behind.

Simon Sinek, a world-famous and inspiring speaker also regularly talks about trust. In his TED-talk “Why good leaders make you feel safe”, trust is extensively discussed. In one of his other TED-talks “Start with why, then trust”, he also addresses this. And although I am a huge fan of Simon Sinek, there is a part of the last-mentioned Ted-talk that I cannot agree with. During this talk, Sinek namely indicates that trust is related to sharing standards and values.

However, having the same standards and values as the other person does not mean that I trust this person. I will give you an example: Recently I was in a shop for organic products. Products like vegetables, meat and other food products, all organic and produced in a sustainable and responsible way. With an eye for people, animal and nature.
I like to go there because I am convinced that sustainable food is a way to sustainably deal with the world we are living in. I was not the only person in the shop. There were various other customers. All people with the same preference for sustainably produced food, just like me, because otherwise they would have selected another shop.

Although these people have the same beliefs I do not instantly trust them. Not that I distrust them but there is no trust yet. It takes a lot more than just having the same beliefs, or standards and values. Moreover, I am even convinced that people who do not share your standards and values can still be trusted. For example: I believe that you must address old people in a polite way (Sir/Madam). This is covered by the value “respect” and “politeness”. My wife does not do this. She talks to old people like she talks to anyone.

And still I trust my own wife completely.

The Golden Seven

Now we know that the same standards and values are not a guarantee for trust, how do you create trust within a team? How do you create the foundation for a High Performing team? In my view, there are 7 pillars for creating trust, the “Golden Seven”.

1. Time.
It takes time to trust someone or to be trusted. Some people need more time than others but it always takes time;

2. Respect.
Each person looks at the world in a different way and has a different opinion. By respecting this opinion, even when this is different, you show respect for the other person and his/her opinion;

3. Own interest does not come first.
If your own interest is subordinate to the interest of the team or the organisation, you create trust;

4. Sincerity.
Sincere interest in another person works wonders. Ask your neighbour about his/her weekend. If you are sincerely interested and continue to ask questions, you also create trust.

5. Honesty.
Admit your mistakes, regardless how foolish they were. Because by admitting your mistakes you take a vulnerable stand.

6. Openness.
Be transparent towards others. Make sure there are no hidden agendas.

7. Practice what you preach.
Stick to your agreements, do what you say and say what you do. As far as I am concerned, these seven points are essential for creating trust and are therefore the foundation of a High Performing team.

Start with yourself

The Golden Seven is not an easy list to complete. But it is certainly not an impossible task. Are you familiar with the saying: “Trust comes on foot and leaves on a horseback”? It is much easier to damage someone’s trust.
Do you also believe that trust is the ultimate foundation and that this is really essential for a High Performing team? But you do not see this in your team or you want to increase the trust? Then start with yourself!
It may sound like a cliché, but if you want to change something within your team, your department or organisation, you must always start with yourself.
Give it time, show respect, your own interest is not more important than the interest of the team. Be sincere, be honest, be open and practice what you preach.

You will see, bit by bit the trust will grow. And keep this up because as soon as you let go of one of the aforementioned points, the trust is damaged and leaves on a horseback…

May 27, 2021

Are you thinking about starting with DevOps? Or probably you’ve already started with your DevOps journey recently but you don’t know how to continue? Or you are overwhelmed? Then this blog is certainly something for you. With great regularity, I get questions like: “where to start with DevOps?” Do you have to start with the team? Or first the management? Or maybe tackle the processes first? Or rather start with Cloud or implement CI/CD? Or maybe just start with Test automation. A lot of choices and therefore people have choice stress. They don’t have any idea where to start because there is a lot to be improved.

October 1, 2018

Before we barge in by telling you what DevOps entails according to S0L1D Heroes, we take you back to the creation of DevOps and the name DevOps. Even most DevOps Engineers or DevOps coaches do not know the original story. But you will after this ;-)