The 10 Essential Rules for Any High Performing Team

Want to take your team to the next level? Pickstar CEO and leadership consultant James Begley shares the key team culture concepts.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a corporate environment or the sporting field, most motivated leaders are constantly striving for ongoing improvement from their teams.

It starts with establishing a high performing team culture. In no particular order, here are 10 key considerations.

1. Team members must know what the team stands for

ANY team member must be able to communicate the purpose, values and key behaviours of the team, off by heart, and with emotion. There’s not much worse than watching a key leader stumble and mumble while attempting to remember what is deemed "critical for success".

2. Induct with impact

New team members should be powerfully introduced to the team standards, ideally before they have even walked through the door. This could happen via a phone call from members of the leadership group, through an induction video, group event or even in the senior leader’s interview.

3. Review weekly

Great teams review their purpose, values, and key behaviours weekly. This is common in the high-performance environment of, say, an AFL club, but is rare in the corporate world. It’s difficult to expect high levels of performance from team members without regularly reviewing progress.

10 rules for any high performing team
AFL legend Matthew Pavlich and James Begley talk to corporate leaders about high performing teams

4. Acknowledge the elephant in the room

High performance involves acknowledging and talking about team problems and issues. We often see team members drift along, bitch, and moan about an issue and yet never address it. If you are thinking something, chances are the rest of the team is too. Deal with it.

5. Celebrate victories

It’s important to celebrate the wins, no matter how small or large. High performance is not conducive to a sterile environment, and celebrating great results is motivating and encouraging.

6. Everyone accepts leadership responsibilities

Every team member should not be afraid to put their hand up and take action. Leadership is not just for the person with the title. In great teams, leadership moments are embraced by the youngest team member through to the most established veteran. "It's not my problem" is a big problem.

7. The team drives the plan

Great teams have an established leadership function that charts a plan to drive the purpose, values, and behaviours through the entire team. If it's just up to the senior leader to drive, it won't work.

8. Speak the language

Use the values and behavioural language every day, not just when you’re reviewing them. Daily challenges and rewards should be phrased to link back to the team values e.g. "What an amazing effort, a great display of COURAGE."

9. The culture must be measured

What gets measured gets done (and improved), and the opposite is equally true. Even if you are simply recording a subjective perception score, that’s a great starting point.

10. If the senior leader isn't on board, you're wasting your time

It starts at the top. Even with the best intentions, trying to establish a high-performing team culture without the support of the senior leader is not just difficult, it’s impossible.

Elite athletes understand the importance of team culture and dynamics better than anyone, and hundreds are available through Pickstar to inspire and motivate your team with an insightful speech, session, or workshop. Find out more.

James Begley is the founder of Pickstar and a leadership consultant who has worked with Australia’s top sporting teams and top companies. Send him an email or call 1300 657 601.

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