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High-Performing Team > High Performers (Part 2)
How to scale up a high performing team?
In my previous newsletter, I had shared some of my learnings from creating and working in high performing teams. While building a high-performing team is not easy, retaining and scaling it up is even more difficult!
During my entrepreneur days at EduKart, there was a time when the team grew 2x over a very short period of time. That meant that everything we were doing—supplier side acquisition, customer acquisition, product development, growth marketing—started to really speed up. While it was a thrilling phase, it was also extremely overwhelming for me, as a leader.
Suddenly, I was responsible for the growth path of 50+ talented and high-performing team members, who had shown trust in me as an entrepreneur and the vision of EduKart. While that began my journey of scaling up a team, when I look back I realize that I wasn’t really prepared. There were many important elements needed for scaling up teams that were missing. For example, HR processes, opportunities for growth, and experienced leadership to manage the team.
Once you have started building a high-performing team, scaling it up is one of those long-term plans, which needs to be executed from day one. Here are some learnings from my experience of going through this journey multiple times:
Create Coaching Moments
For scaling up a high-performing team, you need to create effective coaching moments. Such moments help not only to skill your team to perform their jobs, but also to empower them to constantly be a better version of themselves.
The coaching moments can be crafted by creating a coaching habit for yourself. Try to ask questions such as “What’s on your mind”, “What do you really want?” & “How can I help?” to your team members. By creating this habit of asking questions, you can help guide your team towards higher productivity by making them self sufficient. While formal and scheduled mentorship sessions are important, I have always found informal and spontaneous coaching moments to be of higher impact.
Eliminate Politics by Staying Transparent
According to a recent survey by Robert Half, 65% of the employees surveyed said that it was important for them to engage in some kind of workplace politics to move ahead. In such a scenario, it becomes critical to minimize politics in an organization. Imagine if your high performers are worried about politics rather than the goals at hand!
The process to minimize politics begins with you, the leader! It begins with building transparency in your company. It happens many times that as companies grow and more structures and policies come into place, employees start feeling disconnected from the decision making process and the power dynamics set in. One of the most important ways to avoid workplace politics is by reducing the distance between employees and company decisions.
By promoting collaboration and transparency in the form of team meetings, town halls, team outings, you help bridge the gap and reduce the chances of workplace politics. This ensures that high performing teams continue to stay focussed on the things that really matter.
Measure Progress Often
Goal setting plays a big role in ensuring that a high performing team delivers as a collective unit. However, setting the goal is not enough. It is critical to create avenues to continue measuring progress.
For example, if you are using the OKR method for planning on a quarterly basis, it would be critical that as a leader you are reviewing progress periodically. This review cycle could look weekly or bi-weekly. Such quick reviews help the teams not only to stay focussed on the tasks at hand, but also force continuous collaboration within the team to solve challenges in a timely manner.
Create Depth in Your Team
As your teams grow, strong managerial talent is very critical to keep and retain your high performing team. By creating depth in your team, through an additional line of managers, you not only build a deep bench at all levels of the organization, but also set yourself up for more important tasks.
Investing in your team will give out a strong signal that the company cares for the talent within and gives you the option to choose between up and coming internal candidates and experienced external candidates, as the company grows.
Make Fun a Part of Work
I believe that enjoying what you do is as important as doing what you enjoy. Fun at work doesn't only mean participating in fun activities on a Friday, occasional office parties or games; but it means making your workplace more enjoyable for positive outcomes.
When your team has fun at work it encourages not only positive vibes, collaboration and communication but also promotes trust and creativity. Remember, the definition of fun at work can mean different things to different people. For example, Southwest Airlines is popular for its fun and witty in-flight announcements which also means they hire witty flight attendants.
If you're a leader working towards scaling a high performance team, then ask yourself:
Do you have a solid leadership team to add depth to your organization?
Is your team learning enough?
Are you investing in your team's career growth?
Are you measuring progress regularly?
Is your workplace environment positive or toxic?
And most importantly, is your team really having fun?
The answers to these questions will help you create the processes for scaling a high-performing team.
What are your thoughts on this? Share with me.