10 Things That Will Define High Performing 21st Century Teams

More information and data than ever before – paradoxically leading to less rather than more understanding. Constant disruptive change, sometimes from choice but often driven by a reactive necessity to adapt, to compete or survive. The acceptance of ambiguity becomes the new clarity and is accompanied by a sense of constant acceleration, everything happening more quickly and more urgently. Brexit and the UK’s democratic choice to embrace this uncertainty is simply the most obvious manifestation of a changing environment, which will prove hostile or even fatal to many businesses and organisations that fail to adapt.

High performing teams in the 21st century will be different, they will be structured differently, they will behave differently and they will prioritize different skills and characteristics. Those that get this right will give themselves an exceptional competitive advantage. For starters here are 10 things that will characterise the best of the new:

  1. These teams will prize leadership rather than leaders. Leadership will be less about authority and position and more about competence, situation and choice. Leadership can and should come from every level in the organization and will increasingly be disconnected from authority power.
  2. Team members will take personal responsibility for collective goals to an extraordinary degree. Responsibility is a personal choice but implies both that individuals are given responsibility and that individuals associate their interests with those of the team or organization.
  3. Comfortable with change as a near constant characteristic of the environment but new teams will view this this as a positive opportunity more than a threat to the status quo. There is no status quo.
  4. They learn all the time; they learn quickly and critically they learn quicker than the competition. They will driven by feedback, using it to pay attention to all of their performance processes, not just their results.
  5.  In order to innovate and learn these teams will experiment with ideas and create fast paced feedback loops. Curiosity, open mindedness and the value of controlled ‘failure’ will be cultural norms.
  6.  They will make good decisions – despite the complexity and ambiguity of the environment, they value experience but equally note its limitations. They are good at using the team to shape the decision-making process.
  7.  Communication skills within these teams will be exceptional and characterised by the external search for ideas and internal collaboration, sharing and challenge of ideas. The teams collective intelligence will be greater than the sum of its parts
  8. They will be agile. Their ability to orientate to and understand their evolving environment, to position and make decisions and enact them will be quick and quicker than the competition.
  9. Authority will be moved to information – not the other way around. This will reinforce the speed, agility and accuracy of decision-making as well as giving responsibility to the team.
  10. These teams will be courageous, they will understand and calculate risks in order to embrace them, they wont be fearful to act and will believe in their ability to adapt overcome and win.


Metris Leadership helps businesses build high performance teams, optimized for the challenges of the 21st Century because great teams provide standout competitive advantage.

To find out how we could help you contact us at info@metrisleadership.com

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