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Building a High-performing Team

It’s a leader’s responsibility to create a culture where their team can perform at their best. It’s a daily challenge to determine what it will take to create a space where people will be engaged and productive consistently. It’s the thing that keeps us up at night… how do I keep everyone at their best each day. Let’s discuss the process you can take to move your team from average performance to high performance.


In order to build a high performing team, you need to know where you are currently. To determine future success, you need a starting point. Goals only work when they are measurable. You need to quantify your goals so you will know when you’ve reached them… What does success look like for you?


First, we will focus on an overall assessment of your team or business. This will enable you to better assess how to lead your team more successfully.


Assess your team and answer these questions:

  • What are your current team performance results? Below/At/Above goal?

  • Do you currently have any morale or connection issues on your team?

  • Do you have any issues with turnover, lateness or absenteeism?

  • What are you currently doing to address these issues within your team?

After you completed your assessment, consider your answers as you continue to read.


Outlined below are my tips for the keys to building what I call an excuse proof team.


Step 1: Do it with Them

No job is beneath you as the leader of your team. You show them what you want done by rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty. I’ve learned that if you’re willing to start it with them, they will finish it.


Benefits of “Do it with them”:

1. Build trust & rapport with your team.

2. Reduce issues with quality expected.

3. Improve the overall performance of your team.


Ultimately, this will let them know you’re with them no above them. You’re guiding them to the finish line – your goal regardless.


As you’re guiding them, you will develop a structure that works for you. This is step #2


Step 2: Do it Right

You see when you have a structure it allows you to do it right over and over and over again. The team will be more confident because the roles are clearly defined and this will reduce confusion about who’s responsible for each task. I know my part and I know what your part is. The result is less confusion and more productivity.


Benefits of “Do It Right”:

1. Reduces inconsistencies.

2. Everyone knows where they fit on the team.

3. Establishes accountability.


I can’t succeed without you and you can’t succeed without me. A high performing team is being built here. As the team comes together, we will have the right results over and over again regardless.


This structure will not work without clear, reasonable, measurable goals, which leads me to step #3.


Step 3: Do the D.E.W.

Everyone knows it’s important to set goals. You know begin with the end in mind, but often we don’t take the time to see how our goals intersect or how our choices affect our ability to accomplish our goals. Do the D.E.W. and define everything in writing.


As you get the goals written down, take the time to help your team create their personal goals too. Help them see how what they’re doing now is going to help them move up in their career path. Managers don’t that, but leaders do. Build your people.


Benefits of “Do the D.E.W.”

1. People will fight harder when they know someone is fighting with them and for them.

2. People with work harder with you when they know you’re working with them and for them.

3. You will be developing the next team of leaders for your department or business.


As you build this team, you will learn more about them and how they fit into the full scheme to be successful. This brings us to step #4


Step 4: Do you & Delegate the rest

You must know your strengths and your weaknesses. Sharing our skills ultimately makes the team better. Figure out how to play to your team’s strengths. During the process of working with your team, you will learn their strengths so you will know how they can better assist the team in being more successful.


Learn your strengths. Don’t try to do everything yourself. There will be things that you’re not going to be good at. Accept it. It’s ok. Don’t let your weaknesses compromise the integrity of your position. Learn to incorporate others efforts to supplement the areas you’re not strong.

If you can get people who are good in those areas on your team, you will be successful.


Benefits of Do You – Delegate the rest:

1. You will not be overworked.

2. Your team will feel valued.

3. Your team will be more engaged in the process.


Lastly and definitely not least... here's step #5.


Step 5: Do Not Settle

People often say don’t quit. Quitting is not the real danger. The real danger is in settling or compromising. I see quitting as a clear stopping point. You’ve made a clear decision to stop doing something.


When you compromise, or settle you just get stuck in the mediocre middle of the road. Most of us are here at some time in our lives. In between too good to leave, too bad to stay, but I’m still here.


I’ve been here. Just collecting a check and passing time. Staying in the proverbial box just to say I’m still here. There’s no passion in it. There’s nothing to motivate you to do more. You’re just existing. There’s no progress. Leaders can’t afford to get stuck here.


This is not the excuse proof mindset. Get unstuck and keep pressing toward the next goal. Keep building your people so they don’t settle.


Benefits of “Do NOT Settle”:

1. Team continues to grow and progress.

2. Turnover is reduced due to people being motivated to do more.

3. The business or department will be more successful.


Being an Excuse Proof leader requires a mind shift from being totally focused on your development and progress, but moving that focus to build your team no matter what. Go and build your high performing team regardless.

Contact me with any feedback and/or suggestions for this blog (Hello@TracieLJames.com). I look forward to hearing from you.