I was recently in a meeting of a group of CEOs and we were collaborating and discussing employees, teamwork, and the attributes of a high performing team.
During this meeting, the moderator asked everyone to take a few minutes and recall the best team they had ever worked with in their careers.
They asked what made it this high performing team the “best” team ever.
This may sound trite or convenient, but as I reflected I realized the best team I had ever worked with was the team I work with now at LVM.
As I thought about what makes my team so strong and how they perform so well, I also thought about the comments we get at our partner conference, VXMadness. We consistently hear how well we work together and how impressed people are by our culture and team dynamic.
Outsiders are constantly trying to better understand what drives our high performing team. What makes our people respond so well, and what it’s like to work with a truly inspired team.
I believe there are six characteristics that each member of my team possesses that sets them apart.
I chose to list this attribute first because I think it is the foundation of the amazing customer base we have been able to build.
Most teams and people I know only understand the second half of this idea.
In fact, many people I know believe you show the customer how much you care by launching into high-stress, high-velocity action.
I find it is often impossible to react this way with each problem, and in fact it is not what most customers want from a high performing team.
Contrast that with the result my team provides our customers.
We strive for an immediate acknowledgement of the issue and the severity level of the issue. Because we have built a foundation with our customers, our urgency is based on the impact to their business structure and function.
But we also have a methodical system to both resolve the issue and communicate the steps that will be taken to the customer.
I have found that these things combine to provide the customer with a sense of peace because they trust the people and the system.
They know their issues will be handled by a high performing team acting with calm urgency.
This allows the customer to be calm even during difficult times and communicate that calmness both up and down their organizational hierarchy.
This attribute is surprisingly rare. Yet if you asked most people they would tell you they have high emotional intelligence.
I would challenge them.
In our company we use the phrase “mind like water.” The idea is to give any event, task, or person the correct amount of attention.
This is very difficult to do.
Think of the employee fights over trivial matters that are so common. Or the customer that is blamed for being demanding or difficult. Think of how often you hear an employee of a company berate the very customer that makes their paycheck possible.
Emotional intelligence involves the maturity to prioritize tasks and separate emotions. If you see a high performing team, it’s likely that team is made up of people with high emotional intelligence.
Tuned Self Awareness
Employees and team members who understand and adapt to their strengths and weaknesses are increasingly rare.
As the expectation for employees increasingly becomes, “multitask, do more with less, always be connected, always be available,” I see people begin to think they must be capable of things.
The employee who looks inward is so much more valuable.
The employee who demonstrates mindfulness realizes he can maintain relationships and expand business but lacks the detail focus to be good at paperwork can easily be assisted and maximized in his efficiency.
The employee who understands multitasking is impossible and sets up her environment to minimize distractions for blocks of time maintains her value to the organization over time.
I see this trait in most of my team. Further, I encourage them when they come to me with ideas on how to be more self-aware and take advantage of their skills and minimize weaknesses.
I love a true craftsman. My team stays late and expects perfection. They aren’t afraid to put in extra time to polish and create excellence.
The willingness to do what it takes to go from good to great is a unique ability. I believe pride in the work product is becoming less common. Good enough is often the standard.
But I see my team members strive for the best possible. Seeing the outcome as a direct reflection on them regardless of the any obstacles that were in their way. This is a powerful attribute.
The team I work with is excellent at teamwork and supports each other in amazing ways.
That said, almost every member of my team is extremely competitive and wants to win.
Imagine caring about everyone you work with but still wanting to win the game desperately. This dynamic creates a respectful competition that propels excellence to a new level.
When winning becomes about the game and the success and not about beating the other person, the team thrives in ways that are almost unimagined.
This competitiveness drives us individually and as a group to continuous new heights.
Sheer Willed Determination
I first heard this phrase from an employee in one of my previous work lives. In essence, she believed I was either too smart or too stupid to give up. I had the sheer will to succeed, and that kept things going when most people would give up.
I think I have hired this attribute over and over again. My team keeps after things and usually finishes and wins where others in our industry say it is too hard or impossible.
My High Performing Team
There are many other attributes that make ours a high performing team.
Everyone that works for us has a desire for self-learning. They are all extremely intelligent in their own rights.
As I reflect back on my conversation with the other CEOs, I am filled with a sense of price. My team is dedicated and loyal and truly care about their careers, but the attributes above separate them as a team from the other talented groups I have worked with in the past.