I’ve been re-reading Daniel Pink’s book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Everything it takes for you to create high-performance teams is inexorably intertwined with your understanding of what Pink discusses about motivating employees.

Many companies today play to the lowest common denominator. Rather than maximize strengths and identify and develop high potential, they appease poor performers with lower expectations. I just participated in a company’s offsite where we spent over 40 minutes talking about the “disrupters” and only five minutes on the top contributors.  This pyramid needs inverting and if you are a leader who wants better performance, you have to stop settling. Start expecting the best. Then reward those who can deliver.

[Tweet “If you want better performance from your teams, you must stop settling. #highperformanceteams”]

If you want high-performance teams, you must give your people:

  • Autonomy over task and time
  • The best technology
  • A comfortable environment
  • Responsibilities that they are interested in accomplishing
  • The opportunity to operate in their unique brilliance

[Tweet “High-performance teams require the best environment and tech & autonomy over task & time.”]

Your employees are not laptops that are interchangeable from one work station to the next. They each should bring crucial talent to your organization that should make them necessary. But peak performance only occurs when leaders:

  • Identify employees’ key strengths
  • Leverage and develop skills, and
  • Create opportunities for team members to use their singular talents

Where do you start?

High-performance teams thrive when the conditions are right. Leaders must recognize that people are the most important asset. Take pay off the table. Focus on what really matters – spend 40 minutes talking about top contributors for a change. Take a holistic approach to creating a work environment your people can thrive in and achieve buy-in from your teams for your business goals and long-term agenda by sharing and aligning your goals, delegating responsibility, holding teams accountable, and recognizing success.


As the CEO & Founder of East Tenth Group, Michelle leverages 25 years of business and experience as a strategic advisor and executive coach to help drive actionable people solutions and provide practical insights on business strategy to senior leaders. she and her team and are fiercely committed to the development and growth of people and companies because we believe that when people thrive, business thrives.

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