Effective teamwork is critical in today’s business environment. But maintaining a high-functioning team relies on quality feedback, so that the team members can continually assess their performance in a dynamic environment. This means small-business owners and managers must set meaningful criteria and metrics for evaluating team performance.


A team is often deemed to be high-performance because of its singular focus on meaningful goals. It’s common for these goals to be developed using SMART criteria. Breaking down the acronym, these goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely. There must also be buy-in from all team members on these goals so that everyone is working in the same direction.

Process Criteria

Any high-performance team must have rigorous criteria for its internal processes. Some of the most critical processes include effective team communication, conflict-resolution strategies, task assignment and leadership roles. All of these processes must have explicit policies developed around them before the team begins its project work.


After the completion of a task, teams can meet to evaluate criteria based around team relationships, both internal and external. They can discuss how well supported each team member felt, whether trust has been established and whether there’s a sense of shared commitment and team spirit in meeting new challenges. These self-reflections can aid the way the team goes forward to its next assignment.


This metric is directly related to goal-setting. Once the goals were set, did the team achieve the desired outcome within the time allotted? If the goal-setting has been specific enough, it should be relatively straightforward to measure results and assess the results criteria. It’s always a good idea to compare real-world data in measuring team results -- either customer feedback or data from industry competitors if it’s available. This kind of metric encourages teams to be outward-looking and accountable.