Creating High-Performing Teams

How to Create a High-Performance Culture


Keys to Creating a High-Performance Culture

Your employees are the most important investment you make in your business. A healthy staff can help your organization push through challenging times and excel beyond your competition. Ineffective teams will hold back your progress and keep you in a rut. However, developing a high-performance culture does not happen by accident. As an entrepreneur, you must provide a clear vision and the right tools and atmosphere to reach it.

What Is High Performance?

Business leaders sometimes confuse performance with productivity. Without a doubt, high-performing groups get things done. However, excellent performance is more than the list of completed projects. A high-performing team can see beyond the task at hand as they look toward a final goal.

High-Performing Teams Characteristics

Every high-performing team will produce unique results, but there are several characteristics such groups have in common. No matter the context, these teams are goal-oriented, innovative, and collaborative.

Working toward a goal unites well-functioning teams. A defined vision allows team members to reverse engineer the steps it will take to get there. This focus also makes it easier for the team to chart their progress.

Innovation is a hallmark of high performance. These teams are not afraid to take risks along the way. A new approach does not guarantee success, but the lessons learned can take a project in new directions. One of the benefits of developing a high-performance culture is that it gives room for unexpected ideas to flourish.

Every team must work together to function, but high-performing teams move beyond cooperation to true collaboration. They learn to work with the strengths and weaknesses of team members. They move beyond ego at the highest level, knowing that each member will have a moment to shine.

Six Steps to Developing a High-Performing Teams Model

1. Assemble the Team

“Don’t hire good…hire great!” – Diane Polnow

The first step in assembling a high-performing team is finding high-performance players. You want to gather a group of people with complementary skills. As they work together, they will learn how to assign tasks and seek advice based on each person’s specialties and natural gifts.

2. Share a Clear Vision

Without a defined mission, even the best group of people will struggle. You have developed this group to help fulfill your business vision. Make sure that they understand what you are hoping to accomplish. Even if your long-term vision is broad, your team will create workable goals that will help define your abstract ideas.

3. Encourage Open Communication

Productive collaboration requires effective communication. In the modern workplace, this communication should be a blend of in-person meetings and electronic check-ins. When possible, discussions and planning should happen in a live format. Meeting in person gives better access to the unspoken cues of body language and expression. However, task confirmations or check-ins are faster when done online.

4. Promote Innovation

If you knew the best way to get a task done, you would not need a team to do it. You have assembled this group to find new ways to reach your business goals. Creativity often requires unstructured time for imagining. You may want to set aside a period each day for group brainstorming or individual contemplation. People take different approaches to creativity. For some, ideas rise during quiet meditation. For others, a brisk walk may help stimulate new thoughts.

5. Cultivate Trust

The best ideas come when people feel that it is safe to share. An off-the-wall concept shared with the group can develop into an innovative concrete plan. Team meetings must provide an atmosphere of psychological safety that welcomes and affirms risk. When they have confidence that other group members will take them seriously, they will be willing to share incomplete ideas just starting to percolate.

6. Allow Constructive Conflict

Complementary skills and points of view will lead to disagreements. Teams that Trust one another can handle disputes without them becoming personal. Passionate debate forces people to clarify their ideas and argues for the best way forward. However, it is essential to monitor conflict carefully. When a rational discussion turns into a personal attack, it will significantly damage the group’s cohesiveness.

Creating a Work of Art

In the musical world, there are many high-performing teams examples. When a group of musicians gets together, it is a cooperative effort. The trumpet player takes a solo line and steps back to make room for the saxophone or guitar. All the while, the rhythm section keeps the whole piece moving forward. Every instrumentalist contributes, and the final sound is more significant than any individual. If you want your teams to make beautiful music together, I would be happy to give you a hand.