How to form a high performance team

Build an high performance team

Do you have a high performance team ? Not sure? Ask yourself these 5 questions regarding your team:

  1. Would you say that your team members are willing to openly and willingly share their opinions with others?
  2. Can you identify your team meetings as interesting and productive activities?
  3. Does the unanimous decision-making process go on quickly, always trying to achieve consensus?
  4. Do your team members discuss each other’s shortcomings?
  5. Do your team members put team-wide business interests ahead of personal interests?

If you give positive answers on all points, then accept my congratulations on a well-coordinated and high-performance team! That is to say, you, as a leader, have reached the highest level of team collaboration and management. On the other hand, one or more negative answers, certainly, serve as a pretext for our further communication.

Firstly, let’s start talking about building team spirit by looking at the original concept of Simon Sinek: “Start with the Why”.
Secondly, let’s look through Patrick Lencioni‘s book, The 5 Five Dysfunctions of a Team. In addition, I will bring the plot of Alan Parker’s film, The Commitments, into the conversation. The ultimate goal is to compare the realities of everyday life with theoretical considerations on our topic.

Start with the WHY

The team must have a clear answer to Why. Why, the vision, should consciously stand apart from the “What”. In short, team members must clearly distinguish the “Why they are doing” from the “What they are doing”.


  • is a guide for the company, to make decisions that correspond to the purpose of the brand,
  • helps to attract talents with similar values,
  • the main differentiator with the competition,
  • the main key advantage for the consumers.
  • is a North Star for the company KPI (Key Performance Indicators)


Focusing the company on its own Why keeps team members from looking too much at your What and at the competition. It shifts concerns about competition in general to the actual needs of your brand.

As practice shows, many brands made a mistake in defining KPIs. They strive to “outperform” the competition, instead of worrying about their own unique merits.

Also, Why leads the brand to awareness among consumers, strengthens their faith in its good quality. Focusing on “Why” provides a sense of sincerity to the brand.


Understanding the corporate “Why” attracts talents who share the brand’s vision, values, and goals. The priority of “Why” brings people together at a high level of consciousness. More than that, the team fosters a growing sense of belonging to a common cause. And, for all, employees are involved in one common cause, are devoted to it, and show greater productivity, creativity and turn into high performance teams.

The role of the employee in large structures is often too narrow and too detailed. Employees lose vision of the supreme company goal. A manager during employee development talks should set KPIs based on the corporate Why.

This approach is outlined by Simon Sinek in his book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. Or you can watch the TED video

5 steps to develop a high performance team

Patrick Lencioni, in his book “Five Dysfunctions of a Team”, analyses the five main issues on the team. He offers a solution to move up any team to a high performance team

1. Absence of Trust


This problem arises and grows worse when employees isolate themselves from their colleagues, avoiding being dependent. Also, they are afraid of showing weakness. They avoid requesting assistance. Hence, it is impossible to lay the foundations of trust in a team, without creating a sufficient level of trust among employees.

Blame is not for failure, it is for failing to help or ask for help,

Jørgen Vig Knudstop, Lego CEO


As a leader, you can set a good example. Admit, the first, that you have certain weaknesses. By doing so, the leader takes the initiative and encourages others to follow his example. Further, this behaviour will become a habit, and the habit will move into the culture of communication. In the long run, such an algorithm for corporate interaction becomes the basis of trust in the behavioural pyramid.

2. Fear of Conflict


Teams with a lack of mutual trust are highly ineffective in spontaneous, heated discussions. As a rule, such debates on conflict issues smoothly turn into the category of empty hypocritical talking shop. The fear of open, heated discussion triggers unwanted reactions, as rumours, talks in the corridors … Such an attitude, is not only a waste of time but and often pushes the managers to make low-quality decisions.


A leader should demonstrate that he welcomes heated discussion, constructive conflict. Of course, he must establish a healthy framework for solving the problem. If the conflict goes over the established moral and constructive norms, then the leader must resolutely redirect the discussion.

3. Lack of Commitment

The 5 dysfunctions of a Team
by Patrick Lencioni


In case of lack of trust and constructive conflict, team members will unlikely be ready to commit themselves. It will lead to meetings, without clear outcomes and direction. It will demotivate talented team members.


The clarity in solutions at meetings is needed to overcome the challenges and eliminate dysfunctions. The team must establish clear deadlines. Moreover, it will contribute to the correct planning of avoiding possible obstacles and pitfalls.

4. Avoidance of Accountability


In the absence of a commitment to a clear plan of actions, employees refrain from asking colleagues about their actions and results. Therefore, employees can easily evade responsibility and complaints.


The time comes when the team has risen to the level of trust and commitment. In these circumstances, everyone will correctly perceive criticism in their address. The motto should be: “Nothing personal. Work is work”. This set of relationships allows people to successfully cope with difficulties. Such atmosphere liberates mutual demands and calls for responsibility.

5. Inattention to Results


Every team member tends to prioritise his or her ego and career aspirations before the team, specially when they are not held accountable.


The teamwork should be based on trust, healthy conflict resolution, commitment, and corporate responsibility. In doing so, team members will receive recognition for their performance in the form of praise and rewards. In such conditions, employees will easily give preference to collective interests. On the other hand, the turnover of the talent decreases.

How does it work in “real life”

The Commitments is a movie directed by Alan Parker. Events unfold in the north of Dublin. The storyline tells how Jimmy Rabbit, gathers young workers around him, to create a group of Soul music. He learns how to become a leader and try to get a high performance team.

The Comitments

Start with the “Why”

First, the “CEO” shared his vision, explaining the why to the newly formed team .“The soul is the sound of the working class. It’s the sound of the factory and riding. The soul is the music people understand. Sure it’s basic and it’s simple. But it’s something else ’cause, ’cause, ’cause it’s honest, that’s it. It’s honest.”

How about the 5 stairs to success as a high performance team?

Unfortunately, the music band or team has had to overcome difficulties at every stage of its development. The five-team dysfunctions are among the difficulties.

Absence of Trust

The main obstacle to their progress is the lack of trust in their capabilities and their collective potential. Moreover, it is also a lack of strong cohesion, mutual understanding, and mutual support.

Fear of Conflict

At first glance, conflict is not characteristic of relationships in a team. According to the script, the musicians freely exchange opinions and impressions. However, this is only a discussion of personal, not collective or professional issues.

Lack of Commitment

At first, there is no commitment. Everyone’s ego prevails over the interests of the group. Not all guys are committed to achieving their goals.

Avoidance of Accountability

This is another problem for the the band. For example, the chorus place vacations first. The lead singer is ready to leave for another band as soon as he has an offer.

Inattention to Results

Despite all their struggle, the band is able to interpret great songs and gain a certain notoriety. The band dos not play long together, more likely as result of the non-completion of the 4 previous stages.


hIgh performance team

For a more successful example, watch the movie The Lord of the rings: the fellowship of the ring, by Peter Jackson. This gathering of outcasts goes through all the stages of team development, to finally make an incredible and successful team.

First make sure sure the company vision (the Why) and values are understood ans shared by all employees. Secondly with you team go through all the steps, one by one. David Gousset

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