Building High-Performing Teams

From 1939 until this year, March was synonymous with the journey toward college basketball championships. The early weeks of spring offered the ecstasy of victory and the agony of defeat, depending on which high-performing team you were cheering for. Game-by-game teams were eliminated and as quickly as it began, the madness of championship basketball was over. There was one men’s and one women’s championship team.


Even in the midst of uncertainty, what if we could drive team performance beyond championship games to the highest level not only in sports, but also in teams across organizations and businesses? What if we could sustain high-performing teams beyond a singular culminating event to be an intentional, daily occurrence? Sounds great, but how? If you’re willing to do something that can be a challenge and takes time, read on. If not, it may be best to stop reading now.




According to GiANT Worldwide, there are five key metrics, as displayed in the flywheel image, that drive team performance to a higher level:


chart displaying characteristics that drive team performance

(1) Communication – learn to communicate effectively with diverse team members

(2) Relationships – build trust as you value and celebrate the uniqueness of each other

(3) Alignment – get on the same page with team members

(4) Execution – make it happen on time, under budget, as agreed upon

(5) Capacity – build in the opportunity for long-term growth, scale your organization


Many leaders want to bypass communication and relationships to go straight to execution when driving team performance. This approach can work in the short team, as leaders will typically get short-term compliance from team members, but not long-term engagement. Ultimately, research and experience tell us that for long-term engagement and high performance – performance beyond a single event – communication and relationships need to come first.


Exercise: Rate your team’s performance for each of the five metrics. On a scale of 1-5, with 1 being low and 5 being high, how is your team performing right now?


Reach out to Dr. Beth Brown at or for in-depth support with any of these metrics. For now, here are a couple of easy-to-use leadership tools to help you improve performance in the first two metrics.




Most of us would agree that communication is almost always at the heart of any conflict we encounter. For true communication to happen, there is “what I think I said,” “what you heard me say,” and “what I really meant to say.” The space between the transmitting and receiving of information leaves room for error, or miscommunication.


What if there was a way to give each other a heads-up on what we are about to say? Literally, we could send our intent, or what we need, prior to transmitting the message. This is the Communication Code.

chart detailing the communication code

For example, you want to share a preliminary idea for a new project with a colleague at work and want him/her to help you CLARIFY your idea. You could tell them you just want them to CLARIFY by listening, asking questions as you explain, and to summarize what they’re hearing you say. You aren’t asking for critique, or for them to share their ideas too. Speaking from experience, using the Communication Code as a tool for common language can not only help improve your team’s communication, but also can facilitate better communication in your personal life.

Use the Communication Code at least twice in the coming week – once in your professional life and once in your personal life. If you really want to challenge yourself, share this tool with your team, or one colleague at work, and invite them to use the Communication Code.




Why are some teams high-performing and others not? The skill-level of the individual team members plays a role, but much less than you might think. Based on over 25 years of observing, working with, and studying research on countless teams, undoubtedly every team possesses “the genius within” to become a high-performing team and more consistently achieve its potential. This genius is centered around five relationship-building skills:


  • Trust – Place confidence in someone. Members of high-performing teams trust they can take risks and make mistakes without judgement.
  • Engagement – Focus attention, action, and effort in the direction the team is going. Team members bring 100% engagement because they’re committed to the team’s vision, mission, values, and goals.
  • Accountability – Be responsible to fulfill your commitments. Among high-performing teams, coaches and team members hold each other accountable for engagement and performance.rating scale for teams to use
  • Mutual Respect – Team members demonstrate mutual respect and communicate in a way where every voice is heard. The mutual respect exhibited among high-performing teams places less importance on status, and more importance on interaction and diverse ideas.
  • Significance – What is your “why?” Each team member must answer this question, have a clearly defined role, and know the significance of their role in the overall team performance.

Rate your team’s performance for each of the five, specific relationship skills. On a scale of 1-5 with 1 being low and 5 being high, how is your team doing relative to building relationship skills that drive high performance? 




At the end of the day, you’re capable of amazing things, but it’s up to you to take action.  Or, as said in a Chinese Proverb: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.”


Taking action on your own can sometimes be daunting. Team Aureus is here to coach, or guide, you and your team as you build on existing, and develop new, skills. Connect with Beth today for a free video or phone consultation to learn how to drive your team to even higher levels of performance.