As the CEO of a company that exists to create high performance cultures and teams, I am alway looking for ways to optimize. For me, optimization means doing more in less time, with fewer resources and getting the desired result or something even better than hoped for. It also means fewer mistakes due to carelessness. What I’ve come to learn is that the more effective I am in slowing things down, the FASTER we go with fewer casualties. If you are paying attention and not flying through this article, than you are keenly aware that this concept is obviously counterintuitive for many. If you are a leader responsible for results, here are some things to think about as you and your team strive for high performance.
Define High Performance
I am amazed at how many teams and organizations consider themselves to be high performance cultures. For some high performance means people hit their numbers no matter what. For others high performance means no mistakes. For many, high performance means fast. For a few, high performance means being true to core values. Let’s call those the unicorns. The point is that it is subjective. Subjectivity IS the enemy of efficiency and productivity. Hopefully we can agree that efficiency and productivity belong in the high performance conversation. If you don’t take the subjectivity out of the actual words “high performance”, than it sure is difficult to get everyone contributing in a way that is congruent with whatever you collectively decide high performance is for your team or organization. I can assure you that getting everyone aligned around what you are calling high performance is game changing.
Shorten Communication Cycles
THE lowest hanging fruit to be had in the optimization process is shortening communication cycles. This can be done in a number of effective ways. Our goal at Banding People Together is to constantly strive to figure out how we can shorten calls and have fewer meetings. It’s not a hard idea to rally around. After all, who doesn’t want more time? One of our core values is preparation. There is and understanding that everyone comes to a call or meeting with a clear understanding of the objective and outcome. This also means people have done their homework and aren’t thinking about the subject matter for the first time on the call or in the meeting. The goal is insure that we have the best chance to solve for things that lead to action instead of another meeting or conversation. Of course, you have to make sure everyone has enough bandwidth to prepare. Not easy to do if your people are in meetings from dawn until dusk. I don’t schedule any calls or meetings before 11am. This gives me time to prepare for whatever meetings or calls I have for the day. This also insures that we get more done in our meetings which decreases the chance of another meeting.
Realize That Personality Matters In High Performance
There are certain types of people that are driven by “checking the box” and moving on to the next thing. They are actually wired this way. Ironically, they are often the “type A’s” who ascend the org chart because “they get stuff done”. They are so hyper focused on completing the task (which can be an illusion of a result) that they sub-optimize themselves and others in a myriad of ways. They make lots of mistakes because they aren’t good active listeners. After all, you have to be present to actively listen. That’s hard to do when you are focused on checking the next item of your list. As a result of the need for speed, information does not get shared accurately. Things get grossly misinterpreted and ultimately it becomes necessary to have MORE calls and MORE meetings to get aligned. I won’t have certain calls with some members on our team if they are driving or traveling because I know things will get missed. Ultimately, this causes mistakes which someone will have to find time to fix. Nothing high performance about that.
I hope that this article helps you and your team think differently about high performance. There are a number of tactics and systems that can be incorporated into your daily way of working to dramatically increase performance. In the meantime, I hope you will give some thought to the three ideas above and also hope it starts a new conversation around high performance on your team.