We have been fascinated by how teams work and what contributes most to developing high performing teams. We also know that moving a team to sustainable high performance is challenging and complex.  As a result, we wanted to develop a model and framework that assisted leaders and teams to effectively identify a way to navigate the complexities of developing high performing teams.

Following a comprehensive meta-analysis of 10 years of research into high performing and elite teams, we developed the High Performing Elite Teams (HPET®) team model and diagnostic tool.  The HPET® model provides not only a framework for analysing a team’s effectiveness but also provides insight into how to go about improving a team’s effectiveness. 

The model and associated diagnostic tool has been used extensively since 2010 to diagnose team dysfunction, provide insights into team development focus and enhance team performance across a range of industries.  The HPET® tool has been subjected to a further validation study and factor analysis which has validated the test-retest reliability and the validity of the sub-factors.

The online HPET® Team Diagnostic tool provides a quantitative measure of the team’s effectiveness against each of the four dimensions and 12 sub-factors, as well as an overall HPS (High Performing State) score.

The model comprises two core dimensions: The Intrapersonal – Interpersonal Dimension and the Cognitive – Emotive Dimension. The corresponding 4 Quadrants and 12 sub-factors illuminate the key factors necessary to achieve a high performing state.

The HPET® methodology allows for both the diagnostic analysis as well as the identification of relevant interventions to put into place to improve a team’s effectiveness.  We typically recommend that a team completes the HPET® Team Diagnostic tool prior to a team intervention to identify specifically the areas of improvement as well as the areas of strength.

High Performing Team Improvement programs typically occur over a 6 to 12 month period following the initial team diagnostic.  The program is tailored specifically to the needs of the team and the context of the operating environment.  The final element of the team improvement program is the completion of a HPET® Team Diagnostic to assess the improvement gained through the program.

About the HPET Diagnostic Tool

The High Performing Elite Teams diagnostic tool assesses a team’s overall state of performance as well as providing information regarding a team’s performance in each of the quadrants of the HPET® Model, its sub-factors and individual items.  The HPET® provides a very clear indication as to the current state of performance of the team and directs the team to areas of improvement.

The data from the HPET® provides the strengths of the team (top ten items), the weaknesses (bottom ten items) and the drivers of the overall High Performing State specific to that team.  All of this information is captured and detailed in the HPET® report.

The HPET® Diagnostic tool consists of 50 items on which respondents rate their level of agreement with a series of statements on a 5 point Likert scale.   In addition, using the same 5 point rating scale, there are 10 questions relating to their level of agreement with how much a particular behaviour is observed in the workplace.

The HPET® Report provides an overview of the team’s functioning according to the following structure:

  • The Overall High Performing State Score
  • The scores by Quadrant
  • Top Five Scoring Items
  • Lowest Five Scoring Items
  • Top Five Drivers
Research Supporting the HPET

An extensive validation study was conducted following the development of the HPET® model and diagnostic tool to validate the effectiveness of the tool.  Four teams with evidence of high performance were selected for the study. 

Participants were administered the High Performing Elite Teams Diagnostic tool (HPET) and participated in a structured interview following their completion of this tool. Diagnostic tool data was collated and analysed using statistical methods including but not limited to correlations and averages. All the data was then analysed in relation to the following questions:

  • What are the key drivers of High Performance (HP)?
  • What are the themes/factors common to HP teams?
  • How are motivation and competency linked to HP?
  • What are the most common observable behaviours in HP teams?
  • Does the TLC Solutions HPET offer anything of value to organisations?

Both the quantitative and qualitative data was analysed to validate the effectiveness of the HPET® Team Diagnostic, with a particular focus on whether or not the qualitative responses aligned with the quantitative measures and the actual performance evidence for each respective team.

Summary of the Findings

Overall, the results of the HPET® diagnostic tool were shown to provide a good indication of the high performing state of the team, with a strong link between the quantitative and qualitative data collected in the interview process.  Furthermore, the HPET diagnostic tool provided an accurate diagnosis of the areas for improvement and the strengths of the team.  Not only do the results indicate that the HPET® tool is a valid and accurate measure of a team’s High Performing State (HPS), but was also shown to provide the teams with clarity on how to improve their HPS.

Top Five Drivers of High Performing Elite Teams

The top five drivers are essentially the items that have loaded with the greatest significance onto the HPS score in the correlation analysis.  These items are the most important five elements that any leader needs to know if they wish to drive a high performing team state.

  1. Team members are given permission and feel comfortable holding each other accountable to the agreed way of working
  2. The team appreciate and tap into each other's different approaches, skills and experiences
  3. The accountabilities and responsibilities of my role are very clear
  4. Communication in the team environment is constructive
  5. Conflict in the team is resolved effectively and in a timely manner

The top five items also represent each of the four Quadrants, providing excellent evidence that each of the quadrants are critical for reaching high performing state.

The most significant driver of the High Performing State being:

Team members are given permission and feel comfortable holding each other accountable to the agreed way of working.

This provides evidence for the benefit of a ‘Culture of Accountability’ to drive organisational performance.  For the above driver to be put into practice, a team needs to have the following in place:

  1. Clearly understood accountabilities – both self and others
  2. An agreed way of working
  3. Permission to hold each other accountable to the agreed way of working
  4. A willingness and openness to be held accountable
  5. Visible practice of the behaviours holding each other accountable

We have always believed that a Culture of Accountability is one of the most significant enablers of a High Performing State for an organisation.  The results of this validation study, and the ongoing evidence from the work that we are doing with teams provides significant evidence for our belief.

Top Motivators of High Performing Teams

Engagement and motivation are a common topic of conversation in organisations and teams, particularly in the current challenging economic environment.  There is a significant amount of literature and research around motivators in the work place and a number of tools for gauging the engagement level of staff.  The HPET survey includes an item asking the participant to score their level of motivation in the workplace on a scale of 0 to 10.  This score is then correlated with the items, quadrant scores and the HPS score.

Quadrant 1 (Clarity & Sense of Purpose) is the most significant correlation with the motivation scores. In particular, the items around the fit of role to their career goal and their level of passion for their current job were key drivers of motivation.

The Quadrant 2 items relating to team members displaying the appropriate emotion and communication being constructive are also key drivers of motivation in the team.  This is great evidence in support of the importance of Emotional Intelligence in the team setting and the impact of a lack of EQ in the team environment.  In our experience, if people have experienced a toxic team environment, one of the key issues driving this toxic state is the fear or anxiety around speaking up or challenging individuals in the group setting. 

Continuous improvement was identified both as a behaviour and one of the items highly correlated with motivation scores, which provides evidence of the importance of focusing on improvement and the benefit of focusing on improvement in a team environment to maintain engagement in the team.

The sixth item that was highly correlated with motivation was the team tapping into and appreciating the different approaches, skills and experiences of the respective team members.  This not only highlights the awareness and appreciation of the diversity within the team but speaks to the need and desire within each one of us to being ‘Valued’.  Being utilised and feeling valued is a feeling that we all intuitively know is important, but do not necessarily put into practice on a daily basis in a team environment. 

Factor Analysis

An exploratory factor analysis was conducted in 2015 to establish whether this model and measurement tool is measuring what it was designed to measure. A large sample size was obtained of participants who had completed the measure over a few years (N = 529). This data was examined for demographics and then it was used to conduct a factor analysis.

The findings indicate that the sample size collected and used for this factor analysis was more than adequate. The Cronbach’s alpha calculated for all quadrants was more than 0.70 and therefore it can be concluded that all quadrants (or subscales) of the HPET questionnaire have internal reliability. The correlations and factor analysis conducted highlight that the measurement tool also has a strong level of validity. Only one item was identified for potential removal from the factor analysis, that being an item from Quadrant 1 ‘The team members regularly seek clarity on expectations and priorities’. However, after examining the reliability test this item did not prove to have a significant negative impact on the achieved alpha level and it is also arguably an important question when it comes to team effectiveness. The Factor Analysis concluded that not items need to be changed or removed from the HPET® Team Diagnostic.

The results conclude that all four of the quadrants (as well as the behaviours) as separated out in the original model are valid and reliable. This demonstrates that the HPET measurement tool is measuring what it was designed to measure. The results of the factor analysis and additional correlation analysis supported the design of the measurement tool. Analysis also confirmed that the HPET measurement tool has both internal reliability and validity.


The HPET® Team Diagnostic tool and methodology is one of the most effective team diagnostic tools to provide actual evidence of team effectiveness (rather than simply a summary of personality or thinking styles) and provide a clear pathway to improvement.  The HPET® is cost-effective and easy to implement with the online survey, and provides a summary report as part of the first team debrief workshop.  Furthermore, we can provide the team with ongoing support with team interventions and strategies for obtaining the required shifts in the High Performing State.

You are most welcome to contact us for more information about how to implement a HPET® program for your team. Email us at enquiries@tlcsolutions.com.au or contact us via our website.

Developed by Gregory Bayne, Director of Total Leader and Coach Solutions
Copyright © TLC Solutions Australia Pty Ltd 2012

About the author

Gregory Bayne is one of the Directors of Total Leader and Coach Solutions Australia.  Greg works with senior and executive leaders assisting them to make shifts in the way they work, the way they think and the way they live their lives to become better leaders, colleagues and team members. Greg has a particular focus on assisting leaders create a culture or accountability and high performance. His expertise and knowledge is around building and developing a culture of accountability, leading high performing teams, and getting the most out of people to deliver the highest standards of work. We cultivate sustainable behavioural change in individuals, teams and organisations to drive a performance culture.

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