As a business leader, one of your most important tasks is to set the tone for your team. You need to create the right culture to empower your team to perform at their highest level. The right culture is what separates effective teams that get results from mediocre teams that struggle. Let’s discuss ways to create a high-performing team culture within your business and even within your family.
A simple way to understand a high-performance culture is that it’s a culture that works. Your team members have the resources and everything they need to get their job done and produce results. The right culture also contributes to a sense of satisfaction, helping you to retain good talent. Once you see the benefits of this strategy, everything will change.
Set Clear Goals and Benchmarks
To establish the right culture, a leader starts by setting clear goals and benchmarks. Each member of your team needs to know where they’re going and how they’re getting there. This is the most important upfront work as it’s related to everything the team does afterward. For example, I have a Project Manager that keeps my business online going each day. Her work is seamless, meaning that I am not aware of what she’s doing, yet she is following the guidelines she and I have established over the years.
Going Deeper with Team Culture
Isn’t this a bit like what we do as parents? We set clear goals and benchmarks as to what we expect from the younger family members. Sometimes a “pecking order” of sorts becomes natural and everything flows well, unless someone does not follow through or there is some other type of situation. You can turn everything around and achieve your goals and success by using the strategies I’m sharing here.
Convey Your Core Values
The basis for any business culture is its core values. These are the motivating factors that inspired you to start your business in the first place.
Why does your organization exist? What change would you like to make in the world? This should be the foundation of your business culture and well understood by your team.
I did this during each of the twenty years I spent in the classroom as a teacher. When you create a high-performing team culture, each person is valued for their input and participation. It may be even more satisfying when the team achieves their goal, rather than just one person completing a task. I was the leader, so I set up and then conveyed my core values to my team members – in this case, my students.
Define Behaviors and Norms
What makes a team “high performing” is their ability to get results. These results depend on set of behaviors and norms that allow the team to function as a cohesive unit.
These behaviors and norms differ from one organization or industry to another. It’s your role as leader to define these and clearly communicate them to your staff, establishing best practices that everyone will follow. Along with behaviors and norms, you may also have specific jargon or vocabulary that the entire team should learn and embrace.
As teams go about working toward their common goals, they face obstacles and challenges. Cultivate a culture that encourages the identification of these hurdles and overcoming them together.
Some challenges live only in the minds of your team members. It isn’t always tech issues or a lack of skills that hold some people back, but instead they face mindset issues. Uncover any negative beliefs and help team members reframe them.
Foster Good Communication
No matter what type of business culture and goals you have, you need a foundation of good communication. This not only includes communication between leadership and employees, but also among team members. You have to act as a facilitator, making sure that key information is shared and each team member feels safe and encouraged when interacting with each other.
Be proactive in fostering communication. Create opportunities for team members to communicate openly with each other. Actively seek feedback you can use.
Reinforce Positive Behavior
It’s not enough to simply explain your culture and best practices. You need to model good behavior so your team members can understand exactly what it looks like in concrete terms. In addition, if you reward your team members, you will see improved performance in all areas of your business.
Keep Educating Yourself about High-Performing Business Cultures
If you’re just getting started at shaping your business culture, do some independent study about what makes high-performing teams click. Look for books and stories about business culture and how it’s used to get results. I love the story of Google’s Project Aristotle…
Google’s intense data collection led to the same conclusions that good managers have always known: In the best teams, members show sensitivity, and most importantly, listen to one another.
Matt Sakaguchi, a midlevel manager at Google, was keen to put Project Aristotle’s findings into practice. He took his team off-site to open up about his cancer diagnosis. Although initially silent, his colleagues then began sharing their own personal stories.
At the heart of Sakaguchi’s strategy, and Google’s findings is the concept of “psychological safety” – a shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking.
Google now describes psychological safety as the most important factor in building a successful team.
Google ended up highlighting what leaders in the business world have known for a while: the best teams are mindful that all members should contribute to the conversation equally, and respect one another’s emotions. It has less to do with who is in a team, and more with how the members interact with one another.
Once you have your team working together, monitor results to discover what’s working and what isn’t. Choose KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and track behaviors and actions that produce results so you can refine your best practices for even better performance.
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I’m bestselling USA Today and Wall Street Journal author, publisher, and entrepreneur Connie Ragen Green and would love to connect with you. If you are new to the world of online entrepreneurship please check out my comprehensive training on how to set up Funnels That Click and learn how to gain an unfair advantage when it comes to building a lucrative online business.