Two big focuses in my life are being a triathlete and a salesperson. There is much I accomplish on my own in these areas. Both take individual commitment to excellence and personal responsibility, and both end in individual performances, no matter who helps me along the way. I also happen to be Mom to four-year old Nico, and a Team Coach. Pursuing my passions involves cultivating and enabling the performance of other people. I learn many lessons about teamwork by having a family and being Nico’s mom.

Structures for High Performance

While there is no silver bullet, the following four levers and dials for building and keeping teams can help you and your group to become an aligned, inspired, and decisive team. When you get it right, your team can produce sustainable breakthrough performance.

WIIFM and my team?

The old adage “What’s in it for me?” (WIIFM) offers a helpful perspective for understanding each teammate’s personal need for a win in pursuit of the team’s goals. If the personal consideration becomes compromised or in doubt, it is likely you will lose their loyalty and motivation. Concurrently, what’s in it for the team needs to be clear. What are our short- and long-term goals, and why do they matter? ‘Are we up to something bigger than ourselves?’ is a great question to gauge the inspiration of your team.

Being A Leader Causing Leaders

Leading from the perspective of developing each individual’s leadership proficiency is key to building the future and, quite frankly, not burning you out! My most inspired team members share about their favorite leaders being the ones who will give them projects that allow them to grow their skills, as well as see and be seen for their good work. Offering them an opportunity to test out new skills and stretch their perceptions of themselves and others cultivates their leadership.

Alignment on Roles & Responsibilities

Successful execution begins with your team having clear roles and responsibilities. Once everyone knows and aligns on who is responsible for what, there is the opportunity to empower those roles and have accountability amongst the team, i.e., “You can count on me for X, and I am willing to be held to that.” Partnership between roles can drive strong collaboration. Clarity and alignment among the team about what you are going after and how you want to get there creates decisiveness.

Celebrating and Completion

Don’t forget to celebrate wins, big and small, with frequency and use these opportunities to distinguish what is working and what is not working, or what has been learned. Celebrating and completing milestones and projects with your team helps them continue to grow and move forward.

Ashley Tappan co-founded and leads Fit to Lead, a program that helps businesswomen take on fitness, even doing triathlons, as a fulcrum for leadership development.

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