The Secret to Creating a High-Performing Team

Vision + Passion, Hustle and Drive Is the Secret to Creating a High-Performing Team!

One of the highest performing teams in the world is the rowing crew. Each member not only has to pull his share of the load, but also must do it in perfect unison with the rest of the team members. To achieve this sort of efficiency, each crewmember is carefully selected and placed in the position that will most benefit the crew.

As an entrepreneur, you want to create a team that can operate with the efficiency of a rowing crew, but what’s the secret of building that kind of high-performing team?
The formula for successfully putting together a team would be incredibly complex, if there were one. If you search for information on how to build a successful team, you’ll find a lot of multi-pronged advice, laid out in a bunch of bullet points, or several steps.

The suggestions range from, “be aware of how you work,” to, “clearly define roles and responsibilities,” to, “always celebrate success.” This is all great advice, but what’s the common factor that makes all these suggestions valid?

The spine of all this team-building guidance can be stacked up on a core action, a single exercise that everything else builds outward from: answering the right question.

As entrepreneurs, we’re often accustomed to building our empire with sweat equity. It’s difficult to identify which tasks you should offload, so it’s tough to decide what specialists will be most valuable as part of your team. But, just like building a business, creating a team starts with a vision. Remember the goal you had in mind when you started building your business. Remind yourself of your ultimate objective.

During a race, a rowing crew orients toward a point on the horizon. There’s no deviation from this point. If the boat drifts from this direction, even slightly, the coxswain calls out corrections, and the crew pulls on one side or the other to bring the boat back on course. If the coxswain finds that the crew consistently pulls to one side, he makes adjustments to the training regimens or placement of crewmembers in the racing shell.

Your vision is the key to finding the right people and placing them in the right positions in your team. However, in order for your vision to guide your team creation, it’s not good enough to be headed for an area or a place. You must orient toward a point.

In order to build the highest-performing team possible, think about where you want your team to take you, in very specific detail. Your objective needs to be a very precise, rigorous statement. Once your goal is explicitly defined, the pieces you need to achieve that goal will be clear.

As you expand your business and start bringing on team members, your initial goal will be just as important as it was when you started building your business. So, before you get up to your elbows in creating your ideal team, return to your foundation, and ask yourself, “What is my ultimate objective?”

With your precise mission statement in mind, you’ll be able to easily identify the supporting objectives, the steps you need to take to accomplish that mission. Establishing a clear path to your primary goal will help you understand exactly what skills you’re going to need to outsource to the team you’re creating.

You’ve got a passion for what you do, so it’s important to find team members that are passionate about applying the expertise they bring to the table.

In the rowing crew, the strongest members are the ones who have the drive to put in the extra hours of preparation before they get into the racing shell. It’s the ones that like to hustle and put PhD into practice (passion, hustle, drive).

These are the sort of people you want on your team. Experience is good, but the thing that trumps experience is having the ‘PhD’. Action denotes priorities, and in any interview or selection process, the candidates who put in the most passion to prepare for the interview will be apparent. They’ll have more to offer at the interview than the rest.

Even if what they’ve produced before the interview doesn’t exactly hit the nail on the head, that’s okay. As long as they’re competent, you can guide their effort with your precise vision for success. The goal when you’re selecting a team to work with, is to find the people with qualities that will propel you forward, and respond to course corrections as you make them. Even an experienced rower is no good to the crew if he won’t respond to direction from the coxswain.

Once you’ve created a team of the right people, it may be tempting to just offload tasks to them. However, it’s important to demonstrate your passion and drive for achieving your vision. The best way to do this is to get your hands a little bit dirty, all of the time.

Your willingness to jump in and help, and learn the basics of the tasks you ask your team to complete so that you can create realistic deadlines and maybe even take on a little bit of the workload is what puts your passion and energy for your business on display. You won’t need to say it, because your team will see it and respond with the hustle that you saw when you made them part of your team.

Working side-by-side with your crew also builds trust and loyalty. When you’re willing to share the work, you’re also willing to share the back-pats for success—and the responsibility when things go wrong. Sharing responsibility creates group loyalty, because everybody knows that they won’t be left out to dry if they make a mistake, and that they’ll get the kudos they deserve when they’re killing it.

Once you’re here, working with a connected team that’s willing to share the successes and struggles of your business, a team driven by collective passion, and a common mission, you’ve made it. You’ve created your rowing crew.

Now, keep moving forward, and remember what it all started with: your precise vision coupled with hiring people that have the ‘PhD’ to want to be successful in life.