Every team has top performers who shine brightly and help you to lead transformative change and solid growth. Every team also has solid performers who grind out good results day after day, and ensure that your business continues to grow and prosper profitably. Both of these types of associates are valuable, but they have different motivations and need to be handled differently to keep them performing at their very best. So, how do you go about building a high-performance team that results in both of these types of associates being motivated to bring their absolute best to the business every day? When you set out to create an environment that is conducive to nurturing both your highest performers and your solid performers, you must find a way to value and acknowledge both if you’re going to cultivate their deepest engagement and maximize their involvement and influence on results. Here are some nifty ideas designed to help you to build a high-performance culture and team within your organization.
Start by Understanding Your Team’s Needs and Wants – You must make it a priority to get into a series of increasingly deep conversations to understand, really understand where your top performers and solid performers see themselves in the present and in the short-term future. Ask your associates what their Super Bowl victory would look like. Perhaps it’s acquiring a vacation property, or gaining a promotion to management. It’s possible that it’s something you cannot even imagine, and you’ll never know until you ask and figure it out. Be patient; your team is likely to be unprepared for such a deep and profound conversation at the start. It may take a couple of tries before you build enough trust and psychological safety to allow your associate to open up about their aspirations.
Develop a Career Growth Plan with Next Steps – Once you understand what your associates want their Championship Ring to look like, you have to align yourself with them to begin to make it happen. Helping them to their audacious goals may mean many things, including aligning them with a coach or giving them a significant new challenge to stretch them. Guiding them along the path to their Super Bowl may require you to help them to draw up a career development path or to help them figure out what they want and what they don’t want. Don’t assume a thing. Just because YOU wanted to become a manager and a leader doesn’t mean that every one of your top performers or grinders wishes to see themselves in management or on the leadership team. Remember, this is about finding out what THEY want, and getting involved as their tour guide to help them get to that personal and professional Super Bowl victory. Be flexible.
Partner with Your Associates – Build the kind of relationship with each of your associates that can bear the weight of truth. State your interest in helping them to get what they want out of life, and out of their career. Think of yourself and your associate as partners in this journey, and act accordingly. Get comfortable with asking a lot of questions that get the two of you thinking about what is going to increase your value to your customers and clients and what the most potent next step would be that will bring you one step closer to that Super Bowl victory. Don’t dictate and tell your associates what they should do, ask them to help you understand what they want and guide them to figuring out for themselves what they want and perhaps the next step along that path will come into clear view.
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is – Once you have jointly determined where your top performers and your solid performers want to go next with their careers and what their personal aspirations are along those paths, show them you mean business by investing in their success. Train the daylights out of your performers, and ensure that they are well-equipped for the success that they crave and deserve. Put your best efforts to work to make your workplace one where everyone is hand-picked, superbly trained and prepared for predictable success and armed for battle with the very best supplies, tools and support that any combatant could ask for. Finally, hold everyone on the team accountable so that your superstars will feel like they don’t need to go elsewhere to find a company that believes in fairness and accountability. Nothing makes your highest performers lose their motivation faster than having to slow down for underperforming colleagues who are not being held to the same standard THEY are holding themselves to.
You can inspire your colleagues to do their best every day. You can set up your organization so that everyone on the team wants to find their capacity and deliver the very best work of their careers every day. People go to work in the morning to make the world a better place and to feel good about themselves. Ask yourself if you’ve done everything you can so that your associates can feel completely proud of their company and the cause you’re working towards? If you cannot honestly say that your colleagues should be VERY proud of the company and the work that you do, then you need to redouble your efforts to make the business stronger and the culture more inspiring.
Michael is a leading member of the Professional Business Coaches Alliance and an award winning Executive Development Advisor and Business Coach. Michael is passionate about equipping his clients to lead Transformative Change in their organizations. Transformative changes lead to a company becoming a brand that others envy and a company with an extraordinary culture and one that delivers consistently ambitious results, above expectations. If you would like to learn more about driving Transformative Change in your organization, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael is currently setting up speaking engagements for the remainder of the year and would welcome the opportunity to address your Public Service Group or to speak with your Corporate Group. The first ten individuals who contact Michael about this post will receive a free Best Practices document that highlights 25 fantastic Culture Development Practices.