Working with Others

Team Performance Curve

The Team Performance Curve traces the development of a team from the beginning stage of Working Group through the ultimate goal of becoming a High-Performance Team. Moving along the curve and becoming more effective and better-performing involves taking risks, dealing with problems and concerns, patience, time, and commitment.

Royal Roads strives to create a learning environment where team members learn about and experience the differences between working groups, pseudo-teams, potential teams, and even real teams. Practically, most student teams function somewhere between working groups and potential teams, and with conscious effort can also experience the performance and effectiveness of a real team.  

Team Performance Curve

Image retrieved from Changing Winds

Working group: in a working group, “members interact primarily to share information, best practices, or perspectives and to make decisions to help each individual perform (p. 91).”

Pseudo-team: in a pseudo-team, members have not shaped a common purpose or goals. They almost always experience conflict and produce suboptimal work because their “interactions detract from each member’s individual performance without delivering any joint benefit (p. 91).” Members on a pseudo-team receive limited benefit from coaching because members have not committed to letting go of personal needs and goals in favour of shared needs and goals (cooperation).

Potential team: in a potential team, members are actively cooperating and trying to improve its performance and effectiveness, but also needs greater clarity about purpose and “more discipline in hammering out a common working approach (p. 91).” Coaching benefits potential teams by helping them clarify their purpose and providing tactics and tools for working together.

Real team: in a real team, members are “equally committed to a common purpose, goals, and working approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable (p. 92).” Real teams seek coaching as needed, based on their own assessment of their performance and effectiveness.

High performance team: a high performance team is a real team that has members who are deeply committed to one another’s growth and success. Because of this commitment, high performance teams significantly outperform all reasonable expectations.


The wisdom of teams: Creating the high-performance organization, Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith