What goes on

We ask members of teams what their shared purpose is. We ask individuals what the purpose of the business is that they’re contributing to. In a lot of cases, we get very different answers, showing that people aren’t really connected to the same, single purpose. We see people competing internally for reward and recognition, creating lots of individual purpose, rather than a united front. Organisations assume that people know there’s a shared purpose, rather than making sure the shared purpose glues everything and everyone together. If you want high performance, get connected!

Five performance truths

The brutal reality of high performance life – this is what you need to know

  1. When people know they’re working towards a shared goal with their colleagues, motivation levels are higher; it’s that simple.
  2. In the rush to get on with delivering results, businesses don’t take enough time making sure everyone involved has a great sense of how they all benefit from being truly connected to the shared goal.
  3. Many reward and recognition strategies actually promote independent success and reduce a sense of being connected to shared success. Not very clever.
  4. If people use the word ‘silo’ in your business, you’ve got a fundamental motivation problem due to people not feeling connected.
  5. Your simplest way to check how connected people are is to ask everyone, “what is the shared goal that we’re working towards?” If you don’t get the same answer from everyone, you’re not working hard enough on being connected.

Three things to do

  1. For every key working relationship you have, take the time to have a conversation that starts with the question, “what is the single most important shared goal that you and I are working together on?”
  2. For every team that you’re working on, take every opportunity to share with people how you’re playing your part in helping to achieve the shared goal of the team.
  3. If you don’t feel connected to any specific individuals, then don’t wait for them to improve the relationship, go and start a simple conversation to improve how you’re working together to make the most of each others skills, knowledge and experience. Now. Go on.


Joe’s story

Joe was in a team meeting where he was asked to speak about a time in his career when he felt most motivated. Immediately, he recalled the time he spent on a project team in his previous company. The people listening to him could see his pride in how that team had created a great working bond and really looked forward to turning up to work every day to get the most out of each other.

Joe talked about the quality of trust and respect that everyone in the team had for each other and how they stayed really focused on the team goal of successfully delivering a complicated project in a short space of time.

As he shared his memories, Joe realised just how important this sense of togetherness was for him and his motivation. He knew he was confident in his role and he always felt pretty much in control of his day-to-day work, but without the starting point of being part of a great team of people, he knew his confidence and control would drop-off pretty quickly.

He also realised that he was taking many of the relationships on his team for granted and that he wasn’t doing all he could to make sure his team was superbly connected. As a result, his current team wasn’t as good as it could be.

Joe went back to each member of the team he was part of and went through a simple list of questions with them.

  1. What are we working on together to help the team be successful?
  2. What do we need to do for each other to ensure we’re using each other’s knowledge, skill and experience to work superbly together?
  3. What do we need to do to keep building our trust and respect for each other as we work together on the current project?

He also made a plan to repeat this exercise at the beginning of every quarter to make sure he didn’t take being connected for granted.

Simply by having the conversations, his sense of connectedness increased and he quickly felt he was delivering with more focus and purpose with his team at work. Now he’s wondering if it would make a difference with his pub quiz team too.