High Performance has become the latest buzz word in management circles. I see this word used a lot however I question whether you can force high performance on a team.

What if people’s hearts aren’t in it and for them it’s just a job?  If they are not passionate can you really create a high performing environment?

From my perspective if you want to create an elite high performing environment there must be four fundamental pillars in place:

  1. Passion: For teams to be high performing they must first be passionate about what they are doing.  The team must have an underlying commitment to their work and always be looking to learn and improve.
  2. External Focus: The leadership and the team must be externally focused, that is the ability to focus every day on adding value to customers, clients or community rather than focusing on internal issues such as rules, procedures, hierarchy, policies, and politics.
  3. Trust: There must be high levels of trust within the team between leaders and the staff. This is trust in both the character and integrity, and competence and capability of the team. This is a fundamental element in a high performing team.
  4. Well-being: There must be high levels of self-care and well-being, and balance away from work to ensure everyone remains energised. Well-being is critical in ensuring people have high energy levels and maintain perspective.

If these core elements are not in place then you cannot force a high performance program onto the team. You need to work on recruiting a team that is passionate about your organisations purpose.  Your leaders are critical in setting the tone around what is important in the organisation and focusing the team on what’s best for the customer rather than feeding politics, bureaucracy, and inter unit competition.  You need to invest in the culture of your team around the accepted norms and behaviours as well as an investment in the skills and capability of the team to build trust in its competence.  Finally; ensure that the team is energised mentally and physically by encouraging them to pursue their passions outside of work and remain fit and healthy to build resilience and maintain perspective.