The 3 R’s of Building a Team of Top Performers

The 3 R’s of Building a Team of Top Performers
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What Does It Take to Be a Top Performer?
A team of top performers achieves their business goals consistently and seemingly without effort.  We witness and envy their success.  Their abilities are a near perfect match for their job function; they are a seamless fit for the workplace culture in which they operate; and they help everyone around them to perform at their peak.

The 3 R’s of Building a Team of Top Performers
The most common mistake most team leaders make is that they start with their people and try to design everything around personalities, strengths, weaknesses, and motivations.  While we all have to deal with the realities of the team we have and should play to people’s strengths and desires, the ideal starting point is with the work to be done.

  1. The Right Job
    First, define the specific work that needs to be accomplished to meet your desired outcomes in a way that makes sense.  That means that you must be clear about your strategy, understand your current culture, and be able to define the essential functions required to succeed in the job.

    You will know you have correctly defined the job when you can clearly describe what defines high performance for each role, how success will be measured, and the line of sight to strategic priorities and customer needs.

  2. The Right Capabilities
    Once you agree upon the essential job functions, you should identify the critical few technical and behavior-based skills that matter most.  You can use the capabilities of current top performers and/or map behavioral competencies to desired performance outcomes.

    For example, one of our clients defines five core capabilities of high performers as those who:

    — Perform even when roles are unclear
    — Foresee and handle difficult obstacles
    — Take ownership and get the job done
    — Lead and embrace change
    — Make everyone around them better

    Whatever approach you decide upon, be clear about what it will take to deliver undisputed high performance in each role.

  3. The Right People
    Once you identify the work and capabilities required to succeed, you need to assess how well your current people “fit.”  You can use online simulations to assess capabilities in high stakes roles, conduct training needs assessments, and perform behavioral interviews to understand where your people stand.

    Then you need to determine how to fill the key capability and people gaps in a way that is aligned with your strategy, culture, and values.  Just know that training alone won’t do the trick to ensure that the way work gets done aligns with how your people think, behave, and act.  You need frequent, consistent, and quality coaching to reinforce the desired skills and behaviors into the daily pattern of your team’s activities.

    The closer you can match personality, motivation, and skills to the job and the culture around the job, the more likely you are to build a team of top performers.  If you do, you will find that success breeds success.

The Bottom Line
According to Bain & Company, about 15% of all employees on average are what you could consider both high performing and high potential talent.  And these employees, according to a study published in Personnel Psychology, produce 400 percent more than an average performer.  Why wouldn’t you do all you can to build a team of top performers?

To learn more about how to build a team of top performers, download 3 Must-Have Ingredients of High Performing Teams for New Managers

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