Indeed high performing teams can not be high performing over a longer period of time unless they ‘designed’ their organization for success. From sports we know the saying that the team is “as strong as its bench”. In sports it would mean that you could replace anyone in your team by someone else, the bench player, without (substantially) weakening the team. All multiple year top teams can afford this, because the value of the high performance exceeds the costs of having an expensive bench, doesn’t it?!
Now back to business, are you mentally prepared to make the comparison to your own team? So who is on your bench? What…?! Empty…?! Continually saving costs made our benches empty without bothering about the value of the bench. So what happens in case your team is suffering from ‘injuries’ (sickness, long leave or alike)? The team has to compensate for it by working harder or longer or the team’s performance will drop pretty rapidly. Even if the team could compensate for a while they would become exhausted and what happens to exhausted people? Indeed, they get injuries! So this approach becomes a self-fulfilling-prophesy … for disaster. Working without a bench is in fact a design for ‘failure’ or ‘low performance’.
So how can we design for success? How would a bench look like in business? Building the team capacity slightly above the average demand (load) will help the team in performing high. With the small ‘over’ capacity it will be easier to reach high performance and because of the high performance your team will experience less stress and for that reason they can perform longer at the same level with less customer complaints, in fact with higher customer satisfaction! Doesn’t that sound attractive enough?
In fact there is only one single question to be answered: do you design your team to be the cheapest or the best?