How to improve team performance: 5 academic tips

It’s obvious that nowadays tips for how to improve team performance will often include the use of Apps.

Especially with how easy cloud computing is to use and find, due to the growth of SaaS companies.

SaaS companies use remotely accessible software allowing users to share information easily, at a very attractive cost and an enviable scalability.

But what’s the point in having this collaboration technology, if managers don’t know how to improve team performance? Possibly by getting the most out of the technology through an action plan.

On the other hand, are team members using the information properly or are they have the motivation to do so?

In order for you to get results in your efforts to improve team performance, we’ve found 5 studies from renowned universities and international research institutes.

And the first of these studies suggests this:

“Technology is important, but without an Information Orientation policy, with internal communication, team performance in your company may not improve.”

See also: The skills of a good leader

5 studies on how to improve team performance

1- “Information Orientation” and team performance in companies

Companies are increasingly digitally transforming by embracing technology as a tool to get to know the public, manage companies and teams, and find new business opportunities. Which is positive.

But a study conducted by the International Institute for Management Development warns that, more than ever, companies are not pairing technology-centric views with human centric management activities.

Meaning, companies need to tailor attitudes and values that lead to a more efficient use of all this useful information.

Therefore, companies must go beyond mere investments in technology. They must combine tech-centric and human-centric values with the perfect collection, organization and dissemination of information.

To achieve this, the study mentions an IO position (Information Orientation) that will lead teams to embrace the correct behaviors and appropriate values required to work with information.

The conclusion is that companies need more than just an implementation of technology. Creating an “IO” is one way companies can learn how to improve team performance, as well as business performance.

2- Motivated employees engage more and generate more customer loyalty

It might seem like there’s a big difference between staff motivation and customer loyalty. However, a study by professors James Heskett, Earl Sasser, and Leonard Schlesinger from the Harvard Business School demonstrate how to improve team performance in this way.

Usually, you can assume that well-paid and engaged employees offer higher service levels, resulting in customer loyalty, which increases team and company performance.

This study shows, in a scientific way, that there is a mirror effect between employee satisfaction and loyalty, teamwork and productivity, and customer satisfaction and loyalty. This effect will also drive a company’s financial performance.

Check out more company performance ideas: A Guide: Lean performance improvement

3- Team meritocracy and productivity

MIT Sloan School of Management professor Emilio Castilla uses the term “People Analytics” to demonstrate how to improve team performance.

He suggests companies identify whether their meritocracy policies, which they use to improve team performance, have any harmful bias.

In his article, the professor comments that many executives and managers believe that they must recruit and retain the best talent in their companies in pursuit of productivity and performance.

Therefore, one way to improve team performance is to encourage meritocracy. Which means, hiring, rewarding, and promoting the best people, based on their merits and performances.

So, for this to happen properly, without prejudice or even unconscious bias, businesses must define HR processes and criteria for hiring and evaluating employees, objectively and clearly. This will ensure that formal processes are fair.

Everyone needs to know what a company expects of them and how a company conducts evaluations, otherwise the effect can be reversed. Which would discourage teams rather than encourage individual and team productivity improvement.

4- Consensus can destroy planning and productivity

It seems strange, but a team that seeks consensus, while seemingly ideal, may not always obtain the best result.

Every manager starts his job by developing strategic plans, goals and objectives.

And to improve team performance, they seek to involve the team in these decisions. They think if everyone comes to a consensus on a proposal that everyone will engage in the projects.

But, Professor William Barnett of the Stanford Graduate School of Business warned during a conference at this prestigious business school:

“Humans fear being a fool much more than they hope to be a genius”

So instead of risking being “brushed off” in front of the whole board, many employees end up preferring to support the consensus view out of fear. They hold back ideas that are risky, but often innovative.

Therefore, instead of increasing team productivity and engagement in the company’s strategic plans, teams that seek consensus can end up with simple and uncreative decisions.

5- The right amount of pressure

According to Professor Liane Davey, a stressed out team is not always a bad thing.

In a study she published in the Harvard Business Review she mentions that, executives and senior managers know that when deadlines start to get short and you’re not getting results, a little pressure can motivate a team enough to do their best without despairing or panicking.

But you must have a subtle approach, check out these tips:

  • Hold meetings more frequently
  • Explain tasks very objectively
  • Show that you’re paying more attention to what the team does
  • Give clear feedback that something needs to be done

One technique Davey teaches is to create a charge in the air, with a worried look. Then ease the situation with a question, for example:

– We’re already in the last week of the month and we haven’t reached 60% of our goal yet! Do you think we should develop new sales material to help the sales teams?


As we demonstrated throughout this post, technology can be a great ally in the management and modeling of process improvement. But without stimulating productivity and proper app knowledge through leadership techniques, there’s no guarantee you’ll get results.

How about learning more about BPMN?

Check out these: BPMN Training Resources



1 Comment. Leave new

  • rajiv bhatia
    March 3, 2019 2:58 pm


    In case any of your Clients need to be trained personally for their team, I can deliver the same
    jointly or exclusively with you.


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