A few weeks ago I was with Manel Peiró PhD, Academic Vice-Dean of ESADE Business School. On his desk was a copy of the new book by Michael Beer, professor at the Harvard Business School, “High Commitment, High Performance: How to Build a Resilient Organization for Sustained Advantage”. Since his doctoral thesis had discussed the commitment in medicine, we started to talk about the topic.
Many researchers based on the premise that a high level of performance is a direct result a high level of commitment. In Beer’s research focused on the commitment of leaders, may be true. But not so when we talk about teams.
In my research on the cooperation model in complexity “Cooplexity”, I show that after an initial individual dimension of knowledge acquisition, cohesion is an absolutely key factor in the development of the group. When the group becomes conscious about itself as a unit with its own meaning, we call then a team. However a cohesive and highly committed team doesn’t get the best results just only by those facts. When the group becomes a team with full sense, we still need something more. It comes into play the self-coordination function as a natural and spontaneous process to achieve coordination in a decentralized manner, sharing alerts, visualizing cross opportunities and focusing on a common goal. At this level there are two factors that really help you get results, equal relationship and the establishment of an action criterion.
So when we talk about high performance teams, commitment is a necessary but not sufficient. Without the cohesion is not reached self-coordination, but it is the latter which ensures a high level of performance.