High Performing Teams … Is Yours One?

High-performing teams are the aspiration of almost every organisation I work with.

It’s no wonder …

  • High-performing teams excel in problem-solving, adaptability, and resilience.
  • Relationships on the team are healthy and energising.
  • Active listening, healthy debate and constructive feedback is the norm.
  • Accountability is ingrained. Team members take ownership of their roles and responsibilities. There are no passengers.
  • Challenges are embraced as opportunities to excel and grow.

These are wonderful qualities.

And so it’s surprising, how few teams, especially in large organisations, actually meet the standard.

High-performing teams, for many, remain elusive – despite being so admired.

With this in mind I sat down with Ian Thomas.

Ian is a wildlife expert and the best-selling author of The Power of the Pride – How Lessons from a Pride of Lions Can Teach You To Create Powerful Business Teams.

It’s a classic.

He is sought after all over the world for his views on lions, business teams and leadership.

The result of our time together was a series of videos. These delve into lion behaviour and most importantly … what we can learn from them to make our teams perform better.

Video 1: Team membership and team size. (3 mins 44s)

It all begins with who is on the team. The qualities, mindsets and skills of the people on the team define what kind of team it will become.

It’s also ensuring that the team is small enough, (not large enough.)

Most teams are too big – it’s a major reason why so few are high performing.

Video 2: Setting goals, creating focus and building trust. (3 mins 14s)

Here we draw our insights from lion prides who pursue big dangerous quarry like the African Cape Buffalo.

Goals create focus and they concentrate effort. Breakthroughs happen when committed people direct their energy and effort on a few big things.

Many teams however have too many priorities. This is a real problem.

Too many priorities actually mean none at all.

Many teams make this mistake. It has a direct impact on their performance and success.

We also explore the practical role trust plays in high performance.

Video 3: How do lion prides deal with passengers? (3 mins 5s)

This is the most vexing question of all.

It’s well known that the 1 thing leaders don’t like doing is confronting people about poor performance and / or bad behaviour.

This has a direct impact on team performance … and the ability to keep your best people engaged.

In a lion pride the issues are so much sharper and real.

Here, contribution and performance defines membership. If you don’t contribute you don’t share in the rewards of the hunt. It’s stark but it’s true.

Ultimately the sustainability of the pride relies heavily on the contributions of each individual.

But the individual is not more important than the pride.

We hope you enjoy the videos … and that they get you thinking about your team?

Here are 10 questions to help you do so?

  1. Do you have the right people on your team?
  2. Is your team small enough?
  3. Does your team have too many priorities?
  4. Do your team’s goals concentrate energy and inspire commitment?
  5. Do your team members respect you and trust one another?
  6. Do the members of your team have their ego in check?
  7. Does your team have high standards that everyone buys into?
  8. Is membership on your team defined by contribution and performance?
  9. Do you see performance or behaviour on your team that does not meet the standard?
  10. Are you avoiding a difficult conversation?

Download the 10 questions here

We love hearing from you. Please comment below. If you’d like to contact Ian he can be reached on ian@ianthomas.net

We equip leaders with the tools to build high performing teams.

If you’d like to be in touch please call me on +27 82 894 4288 or mail me on grant@leadershipworks.co.za.

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