The Secret to Creating a High Performing Team

The Secret to High Performing Teams: Do I have a High Performing Team?

The aim of any manager should be to create an effective team, also known as an HPT (High Performing Team). After all, the performance of a team reflects upon whom? Technically, everyone, but the manager or leader of the team in particular! So there are vested interests all round.

The Secret to High Performing Teams
The Secret to High Performing Teams

If you have succeeded in turning your team into a high performing one, well done you, but there are 2 key questions to consider: Firstly, how did you get there?

To answer this, please refer to Tuckman’s Theory of Team Development. Secondly, you think you’ve managed to create one, but how do you know for certain that you have? Has your team earned the HPT title?

To help you with this, let’s identify the key characteristics of a High Performing Team:

All team members are clear about the shared goals, which are sold as challenging but achievable. The team is highly productive; these goals are achieved and often exceeded.

Roles are defined

Each team member knows where they fit into the team and what they bring to it.

Strengths & weaknesses

Team members are aware of these. They learn from experiences and support each other, maximising strengths and minimising or eradicating weaknesses.


There is a relaxed climate for communication – people are direct, open and honest with each other. Team members share feedback, both positive and constructive, and conflicts can be resolved internally. Or, even better, avoided altogether!


There is a high level of interdependence amongst the team members. They work on important tasks together and teamwork and commitment are vital for achieving results.


Members know they can influence the results of the whole team. They know they are part of a team that is made up of more than the sum of the individuals.


People develop mutual trust with each other. They believe that others have skills and capabilities which contribute to the team effort. They enjoy working together, which helps to build the team spirit. We’re in this together and we can do it!


The manager has good people skills and is committed to developing a good team atmosphere (a nice place to work?). He/she acts as a ‘cheerleader’ for the team. Also, team members are encouraged to step up and demonstrate leadership when their skills and experiences are relevant to the needs of the team.

Creativity & innovation

Team members are encouraged to come up with new ideas, which are followed up and shared with the rest of the team. These ideas also assist the team’s internal mechanisms for decision making and problem-solving.


Team members are prepared to take risks within established parameters. They feel able to develop their skills and abilities in a safe environment.


What have we learnt? The above list is not exhaustive, but if you can recognise these key characteristics within your own team, then well done. You may already have a high performing team, or are at least well on the way to creating one. If any of the above qualities are clearly lacking from your team, then this represents a development area for you and the team.

Once a high performing team has been created, some managers like to sit back and put their feet up. Understandable, but remember to keep an eye on things.

Creating an HPT is one thing, but maintaining that position can be just as challenging, if not more so. Good luck!



What’s new in Word 2016

What's new in Word 2016?

The 2016 version of Office is available to preview now and this look at what’s new in Word 2016 focuses on two main features:

  • Insights
  • Real-time collaboration

Word has been around for many years so much of its functionality is already established. New releases of Office tend to focus on expanding Excel’s repertoire – but this time the developers have a couple of timely and useful additions to Word’s abilities.

Before we get to the details the first thing you see when you launch Word 2016 is that like its fellow Office applications it has a new lick of paint and it now sports the ‘Colorful’ theme.

Colorful theme

It also has the Tell Me search bar where you can describe the function or feature you need:

Tell me

and Word will offer you the function itself (rather than a help page describing it).

Tell me - results

So what’s new in Word 2016?


The first new feature is called “Insights” and it’s designed to bring you useful information relating to the content you are creating. Say you are writing about Sir Tim Berners-Lee and wanted to check when he invented what we know as the internet. Just highlight the relevant text, right click the selection and click Smart Lookup.

Insights - right click

The highlighted text is sent to Bing and ‘Quick insights’ results appear in the panel on the right of the editing environment.

Insights - results

Microsoft points out that what you get is more than search results but small pieces of contextually useful information.

If you like the look of the feature but don’t feel like installing the Office 2016 preview then head over to and try the online version of Word as Insights are live there already. PowerPoint 2016 also gets this feature.

Real-time collaboration

This is another online feature that is making the trip to the desktop. Inviting others to join you while you edit a document is surprisingly easy so long as you are using Office 365 or have set up a personal account at

Clicking on the Share button on the right side of every ribbon will ask you to sign in to OneDrive (if you are not already signed in). If the document is not yet saved you will be prompted to save it to the Cloud so it can be shared. Finally Word will ask how you would like to share the file:


You can share by directly inviting collaborators in the form itself or if you want a bit more flexibility you can create a link that you can share with your fellow authors (even if they do not have a OneDrive account.)

Share - choices

Choosing to “Get a sharing link” offers a further choice. Do you want recipients of the link to be able to edit or only view the file?

Link - edit choices

If you allow others to edit your document in real time and they do so whilst you are editing the file in Word you will see a marker beside paragraphs that other people are editing . These marked paragraphs are locked until you click Save. Saving the document also refreshes your view and new edits are highlighted in green to make them easy to spot. The text then is unlocked for you to edit.

Green highlight shows recent collaborator changes

The same is true for online editors. As you edit text on your cope of Word the web editors will see an icon and marker indicating that paragraph is temporarily locked to them while your edits are being made.

You can even turn on Tracked Changes to keep a record of all the changes made by your collaborators.

Track changes

Still in preview

As of writing Office 2016 is still in preview – so this process may well change between now and the release of the finished product.

Microsoft Word training courses

For more useful tips, check out our range of Office 365 training London courses.