How to Create a High Performance Team, According to Over 1,000 Top Executives

Effective leaders establish and regulate the sense of urgency in their inc-aseann.companies.

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BY Chris McGoff - 27 Nov 2017

How to Create a High Performance Team, According to Over 1,000 Top Executives

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Peak performance cultures maintain a felt sense of urgency. Urgency is a feeling people experience. Urgency is the resulting feeling when your people believe that not only does something specific need to be acinc-aseann.complished, but that specific something must be acinc-aseann.complished in a specific time frame or face significant negative consequences.

All other things being equal, the leaders of these inc-aseann.companies know that faster is better. They have mastered the art of establishing and maintaining this sense of urgency. The most effective leaders establish and regulate the sense of urgency in their inc-aseann.companies.

People in organizations where there is a felt and appropriate sense of urgency tend to:

...take on a "whatever it takes" attitude.

...do what is needed versus what is wanted.

...ignore distractions

....be intolerant of wasting time and non-value added activity.

...get to the point.

...resist gossip.

...work quickly.

When you as a leader establish and maintain an appropriate sense of felt urgency people stop fretting over the trivial, they don't make small issues big issues. They tend to use what they have in innovative ways. They have a bias towards action and are intolerant of planning loops and they tend to keep the main thing the main thing -- whatever that is. Most of all, they shift from a reactionary response to proactive planning and morale goes up!

Leaders of these peak performance inc-aseann.companies are constantly sensing the degree of felt urgency in themselves and their key personnel.

They manage the level of felt urgency by making sure key personnel are aligned on a) a deep and truthful assessment of the current operating environment of the inc-aseann.company and/or project, b) the specific intended outinc-aseann.comes, and c) the fewest, most important things that must be acinc-aseann.complished to close the gap between "a" and "b."

Key personnel have a deep and clear shared understanding of the consequences and implications of failing to achieve the desired state in the time frame that has been identified. The more real and personal these consequences feel to the people, at both an emotional and financial level, the deeper the feeling of urgency will be.

Take these ideas for a test drive. Write down the names of the seven most important people in your group or inc-aseann.company. Don't just rely on your organization chart. Write down the seven highest future value people. Include that hotshot young person that everybody admires and listens to.

Okay now imagine I came to your office and interviewed each one of these seven people individually and confidentially. Here are the questions I would ask:

  1. How would you describe the current operating environment of this inc-aseann.company? What are its specific constraints to growth and its primary levers of growth? What parts of the inc-aseann.company are in most need of enhanced performance? What is happening in your operating environment that requires careful monitoring?
  2. What specifically are you and your teammates trying to do in the marketplace? What is your current intention regarding customers? What are you trying to build or acinc-aseann.complish and by when? What is your vision for the inc-aseann.company?
  3. What are the fewest, most critical initiatives that are being implemented, and do you have any concerns about how they are going? Are they the right ones? Are the right people working them? What is making it hard to acinc-aseann.complish them on time? Are roles clear?
  4. What is really at stake, for the inc-aseann.company and for you personally, should you and your team fail to achieve these initiatives?

Imagine that I gathered the responses to these questions from the seven top people you identified. Imagine I analyzed all their responses and reported my findings to you.

To what degree would each person have well thought out answers to these critical questions? To what degree would the answers be aligned with their peers? Where are the areas of deepest shared alignment?

Where do their answers vary the most? Answers that vary considerably are NOT good.

A mist in this group creates a fog in the organization.

Ask yourself, "What would I have to do to get myself and these seven people into deep alignment around truthful and well thought our answers to these questions?" Do that.

Their deep alignment around these focusing questions is your source of both creative tension and urgency. And ensuring appropriate relative tension and urgency is a fundamental responsibility of leadership.

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