August 30


High-Performance Teams – The 3 Characteristics of High Performance Teams

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step 1

What Are High Performance Teams?

1. They are teams that are hyper-focused on the team goals, and achieve superior results.

2. They are made up of a shared vision, goal, and metric.

3. They Collaborate with each other, challenge each other, and keep each other accountable 

step 2

How Do You Keep Your Team Focused on Their Goals?

1. Provide crystal-clear goals

2. Communicate effectively

3. Put their goals in your windshield

step 3

How do you drive Superior results?

1. Hire the best (There's a secret to not overpaying)

2. Implement flow-goals

3. Focus on team cohesion



Million Dollar Employee

Get a FREE PDF outlining the 3 characteristics that make a high performance employee - principles taught by JOCKO WILLINK and TONY ROBBINS!

Learn the step-by-step process of leadership development, personal growth, and relationship management.

Inspirational Quotes:

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High Performance Teams




These are the 3 questions we're going to answer today.

If you want to lead high-performing teams effectively, keep reading

Most people blame not having a high-performing team on the team members themselves. They say things like, "My employees are lazy. If I didn't have lazy employees, I'd get better results." 

So they use this excuse and let the poor results come in...

But they fail to recognize that it's the LEADERS that drive results, not the employees.

"Creation of a high-performing team doesn't just happen on its own." - activecollab.com

"There are no bad teams, only bad leaders. The leader’s attitude sets the tone for the entire team.  The leader drives performance—or doesn’t.  And this applies not just to the most senior leader of an overall team, but to the junior leaders of teams within the team."

- Jocko Willink

What is a high performance team?

"High-performance teams are what make companies successful. Whether the task is to create an innovative product or service, or to design a new process or system, teams rather than individuals are assuming more of the load than ever before. The ideal team combines individual talents and skills into one super-performing-whole with capabilities that surpass those of even its most talented member." - isixsigma.com

If you don't know what you're looking for, you'll never find it.

So much of life's confusion could be erased if people lived by that statement. Leading high performance teams is no different.

In order to understand high team performance we need to understand exactly what a high performance team is.

2 things we need to consider when defining high-level teams. 

There are 2 things we need to consider when defining high-level teams. First, is what they DO. And second, is what they're MADE OF.

"If you don't know what you're looking for, you'll never find it."

What a high-performance team DOES:

"According to New York Times , they are teams or organization that are highly focused on their goals and achieve superior business results or objectives set before them." -  for-managers.com

So they...

1. Remain hyper-focused on the team goals.

2. Achieve superior results

These are the essential building blocks of team performance, and we'll cover exactly how to achieve this in the what should team leaders do now section below.

What a high-performance team is MADE OF:

"Forbes says high-performance teams are a group of people sharing a common vision, goals, metrics and then go ahead to collaborate efforts, challenge each other and are accountable towards achieving outstanding results." - for-managers.com

This means that highly effective teams are made up of...

1. A shared vision, goal, and metric

2. Collaborating with each other, challenging each other, and keeping each other accountable

What should team leaders do?

Now that we've identified what a highly effective team does and what it's made of, it's time to talk about how to create this within your team.

How do you keep your team hyper-focused on their goals?

1. Have Unbelievably Clear Goals

Having a clear goal tells each employee 4 things...

1. Exactly where they're going

2. How they will get there

3. What it will look like when they get there

4. The difficulties they are likely to experience along the way

Why is this important?


Because having unclear goals is directly correlated with an employees intention to leave - according to researchgate.net


Because goal setting leads to motivation.

It's in human nature to unite around a common purpose, cause, or goal, yet few employers take advantage of this innate motivator.

"...this analysis connects goal properties, including organization-level goal ambiguity dimensions (target ambiguity, timeline ambiguity, and evaluation ambiguity) and individual-level perceptions of goal specificity and importance with turnover intention." (researchgate.net)
"...specifically-written goals can provide individuals with a sense of existential structure, purpose, and meaning."

Be specific in your goal setting, and communicate EXACTLY how the team performance brings the team closer to the over-all goal.

"Motivation and goal setting are inseparable. If you read this information and understand the link you will leave with the secret to creating motivation where there is none. One of the secrets of limitless advance."

2. Have Effective Communication

A goal is only as good as you communicate it. Effective and open communication is vitally important for keeping your team effort focused on your work goals.

"Team members of High-performing team: Have a clear vision of their objectives and goals; ...Act according to clearly defined priorities; ...Maintain effective communication and a healthy relationship with each other..." (for-managers.com)
"...they must share the same vision else they won't be in synergy towards achieving the goals. High-quality interaction by members as well as effective communication boosts team dynamics which helps produce results." (for-managers.com)

If you want to learn how to communicate effectively for performance, I dedicated an entire chapter to that in the book Opportunity Switch - check it out here.

3. Have Their Goals in Your Windshield

You can never make someone do something. You can only persuade them to want to do something. 

The old saying, "You can bring a horse to water but you can't make him drink," rings true.

If you want people to work hard towards a common goal, you have to give them a reason to do so.

Most employers think that a higher salary will do the trick, but the facts say otherwise.

According to a 2019 study of over 2000 millennials, 60% of them say that meaningful work is top priority for them

68% of them also say they'd be willing to work longer hours to do more meaningful work.

This means that the goal of your team is likely to improve the world through meaningful work.

This is GREAT news! This means that by clearly communicating the mission of the company, you can tap into a hidden well of performance among your team!

I want to warn you though, if you pull meaning out of thin air and try to throw it at your employees, they will see right through it and there will be backlash.

Employees want work that is actually meaningful, not work with a fake-meaning attached to it.

Here is a list of some of the meanings closest to the heart of your team. Look them over and see which ones your company is has opportunities to communicate:

  • To keep people healthy
  • To keep people safe
  • To keep society efficient and organized
  • To help build businesses
  • To build things

If nothing jumped out at you, don't worry. There's another way to find the meaning within your company. It's a 4-question process I call "Motivation with No Money Down." I outline it in my book Opportunity Switch.

How do you drive superior results?

1. Hire the best
"Most of the mistakes that you will make building your culture, and in your business in general, will stem from hiring the wrong people." (forbes.com)

This seems obvious, but don't write it off too soon.

Most people assume high performance employees are experts in their field, and you have to give them half of the company just to get them on board.

These are Myths.

The best employees you'll ever hire won't be niche-experts, and won't require that you hand over all the business profits. 

"Training employees is vital, but training resources should be invested in helping high potential employees grow and improve, rather than helping poor culture or aptitude fits get to an average level." (forbes.com)

What are the characteristics of a high-performance employee?

There's actually only 3 characteristics that makes an employee a high performer. Outlining them here would be off-topic, so I created a Free PDF explaining it. Grab it here.

2. Implement Flow-State Goals

The state of Flow is also called "Peak Performance" and is one of the best performance management tools at your disposal.

Here are some great explanations of the flow state:

I am less aware of myself and my problems

"My mind isn't wandering. I am not thinking of something else. I am totally involved in what I am doing. My body feels good. I don't seem to hear anything. The world seems to be cut off from me. I am less aware of myself and my problems."

Your whole being is involved, and you're using your skills to the utmost

"...being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you're using your skills to the utmost."

3. Team Cohesion

Team cohesion sounds abstract. So what is it?

Team cohesion is when members pursue a common goal, and are linked inside and outside the office.

"Cohesiveness is the extent to which team members stick together and remain united in the pursuit of a common goal. A team is said to be in a state of cohesion when its members possess bonds linking them to one another and to the team as a whole." (isixsigma.com)
"Lack of cohesion within a team working environment is certain to affect team performance due to unnecessary stress and tension among coworkers. Therefore, cohesion in the work place could, in the long run, signify the rise or demise of the success of a company." (isixsigma.com)

We've already covered how to pursue a common goal, so how do you develop a link inside and outside the office?

That's where this secret ingredient comes in.


Have you ever noticed that some teams just ROCK? 

They always seem to be churning out high performers.

They're always crushing their goals.

The thing that makes these teams unique, is CULTURE.

In my book Opportunity Switch, I outlined the unique feelings-first approach that leads to a more cohesive team culture and increases performance.

It focuses on team building, increasing team effectiveness, and the unique leadership style necessary to manage a high-performance team.

This process is something I've personally developed by leading over 120 employees over the past 7 years.

Check it out here!

"According to a Gallup survey, workplaces that adopt the high-performance team structure see a 21% jump in profitability, 21% increase in productivity, 65% reduction in staff turnover, and 15% increase in customer satisfaction ratings." (teamwork.com)

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About the Author

Finding Leadership Within

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