Company Culture

What High-Performing Teams Can Teach us about Finding Success

High-performing sports teams have many positive characteristics. To drive success in business, we need to pay close attention to 3 of them.

‍At a very enjoyable event last week, I had the absolute pleasure of chatting with a small, high-performing sports team who left a lasting impression on me. And they got me thinking, can anyone be on a high-performing team? Are high-performing teams born or made?

All in their 20s, with several other demands on their time and attention, the members of this particular team operate at the top of their game. As individuals, they have great talent, with characteristics such as strength, speed, fitness, agility, and so on. But they also have three powerful traits that I think those of us in business should look to adopt:

High-Performing Sports Teams: 3 Characteristics to Borrow

1. A Drive to Protect their Place on the Team

These team members were highly motivated to stay on the team and do whatever it takes to ensure they retained their prized place. There is a strong sense of passion for the team. I know that’s hardly unique, but it appears to be an essential component within high-performing teams.

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to meet and listen to some insights from one of the Barcelona F.C. coaches. One of my takeaways back then was that the team is way more important than any individual star bar player.

2. A Devotion to Continuous Improvement

The second trait is probably even more impressive and one we could all look to mirror. It’s a relentless focus on learning, experimenting and continually improving how the team performs.

It was all about continuously raising the bar, being better tomorrow.

3. An Ability to Strategise, as well as Play

One of the things that struck me about this team - and surprised me a bit, too - was the active role each individual team member played in the team’s quest for success.

Everyone's ideas were welcome. The level of empowerment was palpable. This was not a team showing up to a pitch to be told by a coach how to train and play. This was more like a masterclass in highly empowered individuals purposefully creating the highest possible performance methods. The coach is a key part of the team, but not running the team.

The team runs the team.

During the event, I was reminded of some other examples of innovative teamwork that I’ve heard about throughout the years. The Orpheus Orchestra in New York plays with no conductor whatsoever. The musicians figure out how the performance should go via long rehearsals where everyone's opinion is sought and valued. There is a split jury about the pros and cons of this approach, but it's certainly food for thought on how we can purposefully create high-performing teams.

So, as I reflect on that inspiring conversation the other night, I'm even more energised about how every ambitious team can get on the path to being truly high-performing.

There are so many actions a team can take. I doubt there is one silver bullet, universal formula or perfect model. If it were that easy, everyone would be doing it. But what I do know is that it is a choice. It’s a purposeful intention. It’s saying, “Let's work together in a way that will lead us to become the absolute best at what we do. And let’s invest time and our collective skills and effort to figure out the 'how' together.”

Frankli is a people-centric performance management platform that helps high-performing teams find success faster. Click here to find out more.

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