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Why? Why? Why? (And other secrets of high-performing teams)

High-performing teams didn’t start out that way.

Individuals, each with insecurities, fears and doubts came together to loosely form a group.

There was no bond between them. There were no runs on the board giving them confidence. There was nothing more than a shared situation.

So how does a bunch of people working for their own survival evolve into a team that flourishes?

Know your why

Everyone loves a good quote. So, let’s start with one from German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.

“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”

These words are the starting point for any wannabe successful team.

Know why you’re doing what you do. If you believe in the why, the pain and sacrifice to make it happen is bearable.

This buy-in from each team member is the bond. 

When (not if) times get tough, the why is the foundation of the team’s resilience.

Trust

Through this shared, difficult experience, trust forms. The evolution of the team continues as the group becomes emotionally intelligent, aware of each other’s needs.

With trust, team members can show vulnerability. Far from being a weakness, vulnerability shows true strength of character. It commands respect. Mostly, it builds a culture of safety. Team members can be themselves.

Teams with trust are free.

Fear

With freedom, teams can embrace change and wrestle with diverse ideas.

Fear isn’t shunned, it’s welcomed.

Real gains are made by trying things your competitors can’t or aren’t prepared to.

Failure is a consequence. But failure is turned into a positive learning experience, not a reason to retreat to the perceived safety of industry standard practise.

Accountability

Being free to try new things should come with a culture of accountability. Mistakes are owned. Lessons are learnt.

The team’s leadership is responsible for setting expectations. Once the culture of accountability is ingrained, the team’s members drive each other to uphold it.

Building a high-performing team can take years. It takes persistence, positivity and patience. But it’s worth it.

High-performing teams regularly exceed all reasonable expectations and produce extraordinary results. 

But the results are just a consequence of the team’s actions, and why they acted in the first place.

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