The Secret Of High Performance
If you want inspiration on how to be part of a brilliant, winning, growing, thriving team and business, then read on. I have a secret to share that will deliver success. Here it is.
My new business is all about helping leaders accelerate growth. It means I get the privilege of ‘looking under the hoods’ of more communications businesses than you can poke a stick at. And every time I get asked the same question: “How do we create a high performance culture in our business?”
The answer is simple. Not glamorous. Not sexy ‘visions and values nicely framed on the tea room wall’ stuff. If you want to build and be a part of a business that is a high performing, winning, leading unit, it all starts with doing this one thing. There is no short-cut.
Fight hard together, shoulder to shoulder, in a tough battle delivering to clients.
It’s easy to build mutual respect between colleagues. “I know what you have done and achieved and I respect that.” But building personal trust only comes from being side by side in client ‘trench warfare.’ And mutual trust and confidence in each other is a key to high performing teams.
Australian rugby union coach Michael Cheika sums it up this way:
“Nothing builds a team together more than working hard, sweating a little, spilling a bit of blood together. It builds respect from one to the other. Importantly, it builds trust. Working hard to produce a better place for others.”
Yes, rally and focus the team around a common vision. What is our purpose? What are we trying to achieve as a team? What does success look like?
Yes, get clarity around the sorts of behaviours we covet and expect.
Both the vision, and the behaviours we value, give us a clear compass point of direction.
Then get busy together. In the threnches. Dodge together, go forward together, take the hit, show courage, sweat together, spill a little blood together. The happiest, most effective teams I have ever seen always had 10% too much work to do and 10% too much consistent pressure over all they did. The stories I hear told most often when former colleagues regroup for a quiet wine and reminisce are always about those times when the heart was beating fast together, the pressure was on, and moments of truth abounded.
Some of you young guns (and not so young) will giggle and shake your heads in wonder. “Oh you old fart you. So out of date with the modern way of balance and wellbeing. Don’t you know that it’s all about us nowadays?”
Get real. Of course you need balance (not exactly sure what that means?) and yes of course we all need to take care of ourselves (I do know what that means and am no poster boy for it sadly), but face reality, even if it is a bit of a shock.
If you want to succeed as part of a team, then it is simply NOT about us. About me. About you. Step up. Work hard. Really hard. Work as part of a team. Put the team first. Be prepared to go into battle shoulder to shoulder and to ‘take one for the team’ when needed. That might mean working an all-nighter, taking the blame for something you did not do, making the tough phone call. It’s spilling a little blood together.
Do that and you become part of a high performing team. A team where respect and trust abound. And a team which wants you on it. When you’re part of a high performing team, you never want to leave it. And you’ll always remember those as the ‘special times’ in your career.
Just ask any ex-All Black.
I’m going for a cup of tea and lie down. And to thank my lucky stars that as part of my portfolio of interests, I am part of several high performing teams. Early days and just a couple of skirmishes together under our belts. But it’s building. It’s an honour, and a privilege, and I would never have it any other way.