5 Steps to Design a High-Performing Team

Today I want to give you a few ideas on how to build a team that will successfully grow your business. 

I’m guessing you have either been recently promoted to lead a team of your own or have been at it for a while and realize that it’s more complex than you thought.

First of all, congrats! It’s a great feeling to be the one a group of professionals looks up to for direction and inspiration. But how can you best handle the pressure that comes along with the responsibility? Why can’t you manage to turn your team into a high-performing team? 

It’s simple: many leaders struggle to lead with clarity. And to be honest, you’re team will not perform well if they don’t have a well-defined goal and a concise strategy, to follow.

Most leaders define clear goals and map out a strategy, usually throwing some sticky notes on the wall. But only a few have the time and headspace needed to design a great team. They know what they want to do, but struggle with how to frame it. And when the team is underperforming, they feel helpless, unable to break through the confusion.

The problem is great teams don't magically come together, you have to design them.

Your team can work relentlessly, but without a good team design, chances are they will never reach their goals. Why? Negativity slowly drips into the team dynamics and divides the team. Slowing them down and preventing them from being the finest version of itself.

So how do you get started on building a high-performing team? You start by getting the basics right. You need to own the basics so you can lead with confidence and give people a sense of belonging, purpose, and responsibility that motivates them to perform.

In the end, it’s your job as a leader to improve the way your team works together and help them reach their goals. If you succeed at this your team will grow.

Let me walk you through 5 steps to design a high-performing team.

Start With Framing Your Team Culture and Work Backward

The first thing that you should think about is the type of team do you aspire to become. Most importantly, you want to know exactly what success will look like it. When can you say this is the team I envisioned, with the right culture and reaching their goals. 

Setting smart goals is something you can quickly master as a leader. Team culture is another story. You can’t just tell people how to feel and interact with one another. A team culture needs to be nurtured. The best you can do is frame it to steer it in the direction you want it to go. If done correctly, people will come and go from the team, but that sense of pride and belonging will keep the team together and chasing down goals. 

So what do I mean by framing a team culture? 

Lead with the vision. 

If you start with a clear end goal in mind, you will find it easier to get your team to understand what you are aspiring to become and why it matters.

Define a mission. 

If you state the job that needs to get done, you will point the team in the right direction and help them stay on track.

Agree on a code. 

If you define good guiding principles, your team will know what to expect from one another.

Make Sure You Have a Game Plan 

I’m sure you have heard that famous quote from Benjamin Franklin, “if you fail to plan, then plan to fail.” There is much wisdom packed in so few words. 

It’s simple, having a game plan gets everyone on the same page about what needs to get done and how they can help each other achieve it. And, even though, having a plan does not guarantee success. It’s a good starting point that increases your team’s chance of success.

Get comfortable with planning, it’s an ongoing process that you need to master to keep your team sharp and moving in the right direction. 

Define your leadership style

You can have the greatest team culture a fireproof plan, but in the end, success is in the execution. One of your main responsibilities as a leader is to prevent anyone in your team from freezing with indecision. 

You need to find a balance between making the quick, on-the-go decisions versus those that require some thought and agreement within the team. If you succeed, your team will start to intuitively make the right decisions and start building the work habits that result in unseen efficiency.

Prioritize your challenges

Once you have done the thinking work (remember, it’s just there to point the team in the right direction), you then want to start getting work done. You will need to step in and set clear priorities, without them your team will most likely lose focus, wasting time and energy on trivial work. 

If you don’t set priorities, you will need to accept what the team does on its own. So make sure you let your team know how to prioritize efforts between your 3 main challenges. 

Increase awareness

You might have the greatest solution to someone’s problem. But if they don’t know you exist, you will never be able to help them. Make sure you have a clear picture of who you are trying to help and then let them know you exist. 

Stimulate engagement 

It’s great that people know about you and your solution. But in the end, a lot of your success is going to be in the interactions. Learn how to connect with those that you need to work with and things will start to fall into place.

Accelerate delivery

You know you can deliver value when people know about you and stick around for you to help them. That’s when you need to focus on your delivery. Spot the ways you can improve your quality and pace, and do it.

Build a team that fits your business challenge

Your job as a leader is to form a team that can rise to the challenge at hand. You need to find a way to turn a team into the finest possible version of itself. And help the team members stay relevant and effective in a fast-changing environment

Something as simple as knowing your numbers and picking up the right habits can significantly boost your team mechanics. Which in turn will improve your team performance?

Build a team that fits the challenge at hand:

1. Measure performance

2. Introduce good work habits 

3. Train the right people

Conclusion: If you build a great team you can change the world.

The secret for building a great team is to lead with clarity. It starts with getting the basics right so you can lead with confidence. You need to give the team more than rules and plans. You give them a sense of belonging, purpose, and responsibility that motivates them. You manage to do that and you'll become a credible leader that your team will follow.

Don’t let confusion hold you back. Instead, design a team so that your business will thrive.