5 Powerful Insights To Create A ‘High-Performance’ Team!

  • By Andy Fox

Have you realised that the moment you walk into an organisation having ‘high performing’ teams, you can feel the difference right away?

You know the type, where the ambience is ‘buzzing’ with highly energised people, employees going about their jobs with a cheerful demeanor and working together with a clear purpose of ‘getting things done’.

Such teams of highly ‘engaged individuals’ is ‘key’ to producing a successful company. As Jeffery Liker, author of ‘The Toyota Way’ puts it aptly, “the center of TPS (Toyota Production System) is people. A common phrase heard around Toyota is “before we build cars we build people.”

It sure does revolve around building the right kind of people, culture, leaderships and efficient processes, however, as it also turns out, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution when it comes to creating a high performing team…

Some teams could be extremely motivated to deliver their stellar outputs via positive encouragement and guidance, whereas others could be excelling through critique and debate.

A study by Google on its quest to build the perfect team revealed that, “there is no magic recipe”. No carefully chosen mix of skill set types, demographics, hierarchy, or set of behaviours that yield a ‘super performing’ team.

A ‘common thread’ if you will, that could induce appropriate behaviour and build the right skill-set for ‘high performance’, is building healthy relationships between teams and the organisational leadership – which is only possible by embracing the values of trust and respect.

To help you further in creating your high-performance ‘dream team, here are 5 powerful insights to draw from:

1. Leaders Enable Teams To Go That ‘Extra Mile’

So, how can the leaders create this ‘super performing teams’? What are those behavioural traits or attributes, which help leaders to inspire teams to willingly go that extra mile?

A research carried out by Forbes from their data set of 66,000 respondents to understand which leadership behaviours induces ‘high performance’ within team members and created a team environment where people would go the ‘extra-mile’ – resulted in discovering five key behavioural traits, that were essential for high-performance teams.


In the graph above, the index was created from the five behavioural dimensions and the deciles were calculated. After calculating the percentage of employees in a team willing to go the extra mile, leaders who were rated lowest in reference to these behaviours, were found to have 13% of highly committed team members. But leaders who were exceptional on these five behavioural traits were found to have 71% of highly committed team members.

Those five behavioural traits of the leaders are:

  1. Inspiring the team members rather than driving them – More of a ‘pull’ than ‘push’ approach, which fuels enthusiasm and energy amongst the teams to take on the work with passion.
  2. Resolving Conflict / Increasing CooperationThe ability to resolve differences quickly and promote cooperation, rather than competition.
  3. Setting ‘Stretch goals’ and helping to accomplish them – Helping team members to overachieve and instilling the confidence that they’re capable of achieving extraordinary results.
  4. Constantly communicating and reiterating organisation’s Vision & Direction – Staying with the core messages and keeping teams focused on the vision/mission. Avoiding distractions and sluggishness coming from diversion from occasional ‘shiny objects’ syndrome.
  5. A reliable and ‘trusted’ entity – Trust that is won through engaging in a ‘healthy/positive relationship’, proven through a breadth of knowledge and expertise, and assured by consistent actions. i.e. ‘walking the talk’. 

2.  Team Dynamics

No matter how hard you scrutinise and weigh your options when selecting the members for your team, you can only get the real ‘feel’ of your team’s persona and its performance, when they actually start working together.

In other words, ‘team dynamics’ dictates a lot on how good or bad the outcome will be. Take for example, the 1992 roster of the US men’s Olympic basketball team – It had all the top players you could think of, such as; Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley and Scottie Pippen, yet during their first month of practice, this ‘dream team’ lost to a group of college level players.

When asked, ‘what happened?’ Scottie Pippen said “We didn’t know how to play with each other,”

A proper team dynamics would mean the members of the team aligning their efforts to meet the collective agenda of the team and the organisation, it would mean to communicate consistently and work in a collaborative fashion, It would mean passing the ball to Michael Jordan for a 3-pointer when there’s a clear opening, instead of pushing for a selfish pursuit of a ‘slam dunk’ when probability of it happening is very low.

The team however learned their lesson well in time to realign their mission, commitments and common goals, and dominated every other competition to win the 1992 Olympic gold.

3.  Culture Drives Performance

Simply put, a company culture is ‘the way things get done around here’, or in other words it refers to a set of shared beliefs, values and practices.

Any organisation having a positive, high-performance culture is rooted with strong ethical values at the core. It defines clear and aligned values and processes, which when internalised and performed consistently, bring about extraordinary outcomes that can be sustained for generations.

A culture that drives performance - Inspires employees to look forward to going to their job, helps them find meaning and joy in being with their coworkers and enables them to alleviate work-related challenges and stresses, ultimately breeding an enthusiastic, engaged and stellar workforce! 

Another great example of this culture is that of the highly successful company, Zappos. The CEO of the company, Tony Hsieh was clear that the crucial values that would distinguish his company on the ‘service’ front was the ‘humility’ and ‘humanity’ traits portrayed by his employees.

Tony took these traits and carved it on the stone as the company’s 10 point list of “Zappos Family Values”. Today, Zappos is driven by high performance teams, whose ‘company culture’ or core philosophies and guidelines - everything from hiring, marketing or designing growth strategies – are built around these ten core family values.

4.  A Diverse Workforce Is Smarter

It seems when it comes to putting up a good show (financially), diversity in the workforce does matter.

A research carried out by McKinsey in 2015, on 366 public companies revealed that the ones in the top quartile for ethnic and racial diversity in management were 35% more likely to have financial returns above their industry mean, whereas those in the top quartile for gender diversity were 15% more likely to have returns above the industry mean:


In another study published in the journal, Innovation: Organisation & Management, levels of gender diversity in research and development teams were analysed from 4,277 companies in Spain. The findings which was concluded using statistical models, informed that the companies with more women were more likely to introduce radical new innovations into the market, over a two-year period.

Creating a more diverse workplace by enriching your employee pool with people of different race, ethnicity, nationality and gender - promotes inclusive practices and boosts your company’s collective intellectual potential, making your teams smarter and organisation more successful.

5.  Belongingness & Recognition Breeds Passion

As human beings, we have this innate drive to ‘belong’ to something bigger than ourselves. It could be our family, our university, our football team, or the organisation where we work and spend most of our waking hours.

Organisations that make an effort to instill this sense of ‘belongingness’ amongst the employees through their company culture, will inspire teams to enjoy the work they do, and give their best as they find the fulfillment and passion to see themselves fitting into the bigger picture.

This passion however can only be sustained with ‘recognition’ coming from the leadership strata on a regular basis - genuine and kind words of praise or appreciation on the tasks performed.

Sincere recognition and rewards for exceptional work ethics and for exemplifying the organisation's values, reinforces positive behaviour amongst the teams, which fuels more passion to deliver stellar performances.

Over To You…

We hope you’ve found some valuable nuggets of information from these insights, to help create and nurture a ‘high performance’ team of your own

If you'd like further assistance or would like to discuss anything covered today, we'd love to hear from you.

Call Andy Fox (me) on (03) 5249 5570 or email andy@element7digital.com.au 

Our Website is element7digital.com.au 

Andy Fox - Author

I have a firm belief there is only one great challenge in life… And that is… To be the best version of you possible. I have lived my whole life to this tune. I love that I am not perfect and I love that every day I get up and make at least one change in my life that makes it better, one change that takes me closer to my life’s goals.

More about me, visit: andyfox.com.au