In an ever-changing global economy, a key ingredient to long term success is creating and maintaining a ‘high performance’ culture and team. What is high performance? Is it our ability to smash our numbers in short bursts and make quick profits? Is it about building sustainability and performance trajectory? From our work here at Ignite Purpose, we believe it’s the ability to build trajectory, long term sustainability and clear purposeful goals.
5 guidelines to high performance
1. Clear message, case for change and most importantly purpose
Clear message is all about what we need to achieve and it must be measurable. A clear message is not enough, we need people to understand and believe it, we need a clear case for change. A case for change builds clarity on a business case and creates urgency and clarity, it creates purpose. Purpose creates an emotional commitment, it becomes the fuel to the ‘high performance’ team. In the words of Simon Sinek, “your people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”
2. Get your people on the boat
High performance is birthed from the individual. In some ‘high performance’ methodologies, it is about setting the measure and focusing impact in time and activities aligned to the goal. While this methodology works, it could lead to short term success but long term fatigue. When your team decide to be part of ‘high performance’ for themselves you unlock sustainability and resilience. When they align their purpose to that of your high performing team not for you but for themselves, there is a marked difference in focus, dedication and ultimately results. Just recently my twelve year old son asked me why I was so dedicated to the business and why I worked so hard. My reply was easy “a: I do this for you, so that I can give you the best opportunities possible and b: I do what I do because I believe that I can help people grow and become better versions of themselves which will ultimately make a positive impact on the world.”This purpose fuels me even when I am tired. I may not quite achieve what I intended when I am disappointed at a setback. But it challenges me to be a high performing leader. Do you and your people know the purpose that will drive and sustain them? When I understand my purpose and my goals, I decide to get into the ‘high performance’ boat for myself.
3. Focus your time aligned to your measures
Ok, it’s high performance time and I’m running around trying to prioritise everything as urgent, please everyone, be involved in everything … basically I’m running around with my hair on fire! Ever feel that way? Well if that’s how you work high performance will end up being a dream. Your purpose will be unfulfilled and you will end up frustrated and will most likely fail.
So how do you do it?
- Realise your plan – what are your team’s goals and your goals? – measures of success are critical
- Be clear on your priorities – what focus areas will allow your goals to materialise?
- Maximise your time. Where will you spend your time to make your boat go faster?
- Manage yourself, align your stakeholders, set expectations and be courageous to say ‘no’ to time bandits
4. Own your detractors
We are all human and as humans we have ‘issues’ that are founded by our feelings of vulnerability. This often leads to us becoming fixated on things outside of our control that we believe challenge our ability to be successful. Consider high performance, personal growth, purpose and making the boat go faster.When I get caught in these situations or emotions I spend lots of time focused on non-productive negative thoughts that impact my time, attitude and agility. I am not resizing the situation and either as a leader or individual, I am being distracted from achieving my goals. The problem is we don’t realise we are distracted until it’s too late. Feed from others that can help you create perspective. Choose your battles, not every situation is a war, sometimes it’s accepting things and finding more effective areas to focus your time.
5. Create trust, build stretch and enable lift
This is a unique area of ‘high performance’ – our ability to create a safe, yet high performing environment. Your team should be able to trust you. Without trust we can’t give feedback, right size situations or even coach for growth. In a safe environment that is based on trust, clear boundaries, respect and expectations will have the capacity to stretch your people.When they are stretched to grow, fail in-order to improve, strive openly, have a voice – then we start creating lift. ‘Lift’ is when people start focusing and working on the areas that will translate into the measure of success. It is where they refine the application and create small wins that translate into the measure not just being met, but exceeded.What if I am not the leader? Am I in control to shift into high performance? The answer is simple, yes you are.
- Ask questions: what is the plan? Where are we going? Why is it important to the business and to the team?
- What’s in it for you? Can recognise your purpose and align it to the organisations purpose?
- What are your new priorities and measures of success?
- Consider what distracts you from being highly effective and own it!
- Extend trust and understand how you can be successful in your role, for your team and for the business