If you Google high-performance, it’ll say “better, faster, or more efficient than others”. Which translates to maximum efforts equals maximum results.

This might be true back then. But not anymore. Long gone are the days of unproductive individual work or disorganized teams.

In today’s highly competitive market, success does not only depend on hard work. It also depends on how intelligently— or rather how wisely—the job is done. This article focuses on this critical concept.

Let’s break down eight factors for building a high-performing team that will thrive in 2024 and beyond.

1.   Invest in People Enablement Software

Juggling multiple tasks often leads to errors, inefficiencies, and communication gaps.

This is where people enablement software comes into play.

From managing workload, handling scheduling, and tracking progress, to enhancing communication — this software provides a plethora of benefits.

It’s really a must-have for all businesses. Amp up growth, skyrocket team collaboration, and last but not least streamline work processes.

15five is one such software that provides regular channels for feedback between managers and their teams. But as per 15Five reviews, it has a steep learning curve.

It’s best to explore multiple platforms and opt for the one suitable for your team considering your organizational goals, needs, and capabilities.

2.   Create a Database of Educational Videos

There’s so much to be known and done in the ever-changing world of tech. Keeping abreast with new information, trends, or processes — all of this can be daunting for anyone.

And you can’t hop on a video call every time someone needs a quick clarification or wants to understand something new.

Quick-access, self-serve knowledge resources can help tackle this issue.

Creating an easily accessible database of educational videos will empower your team.

For example, members can easily and quickly search for videos that cover specialized knowledge areas or complex tasks, and digest them at their own pace.

These videos can be on diverse topics: anything related to software development, e-commerce strategies, and even personal skill enhancement — the sky’s the limit.

This instills a culture of continuous learning and builds more independent teams.

3.   Opt for the 85% Rule

Harvard Business Review put forth the idea of the 85% rule.

According to research, the “maximum effort = maximum results” mindset is obsolete. Instead, the 85% rule applies; this suggests that to reach peak performance, one should operate at 85% effort.

Going all out all the time leads to burnout and lower output.

85% is just an educated guess, but it’s useful for managers seeking high-performance teams without draining their people.

For example: In a daily 8-hour work scenario, 85% would translate to devoting around 6 hours and 50 minutes to intense, focused work.

The remaining time can be spent on breaks or lighter activities, recharging for another session of productive work.

The 85% rule allows for a healthier balance between output and well-being. This ushers in a mutually beneficial rhythm for both employees and the organization.

4.   Embrace and Encourage “Think Time”

“Think Time” is a designated quiet time for team members. It is the time to pursue and process ideas. To think deeply about problems they’re facing — or plan out their work.

It works as an avenue for creativity to flourish, for new directions to take shape — and for problems to be solved with a calm state of mind.

For instance: Schedule an hour a day or a few hours each week as “Think Time”. This can help push the envelope on existing solutions because it promotes creativity. No interruptions or meetings should occur during this specified time, freeing up mind space for members to grow and learn independently.

Achieving maximum output requires a balance of both active work and reflective thinking, not just one or the other — this realization can be liberating.

5.   Inculcate Emotional Intelligence

Understanding and managing one’s own emotions — as well as being mindful and considerate of others’ emotional experiences — all are critical elements of emotional intelligence (EI).

Research reveals that EI plays a significant role in team performance and conflict resolution — suggesting why team leaders should practice this.

For example, psychological tools such as emotional intelligence assessments are perfect to understand team members better..

For instance, encouraging dialogue and open discussions about how each member deals with stress or complicated situations provides space for members to understand each other better.

Initiating group retreats involving team-building activities, too, can help strengthen emotional connections within the team.

6.   Structure Meetings Effectively

Team meetings feel chaotic? It’s a common issue you might face while working with people from diverse backgrounds — all brimming with abundant ideas.

Follow the practice of structuring your meetings effectively and thoughtfully. A proper structure and clear expectations can drastically increase the productivity of your meetings. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Define clear objectives and lay a solid agenda beforehand.
  • Assign pre-meeting tasks to participants so they come prepared to contribute and anticipate the issues to be addressed.
  • Implement a participation-concision balance. This means each member has to contribute but within a strict time limit.
  • Time each item on the agenda to help prevent meetings running over

Doodle or Calendly for scheduling, and tools like Jamboard for collaborative discussions are perfect for such sessions.

In the meeting:

  • Begin with a quick check-in, where each member shares a brief update on their work and mental state.
  • Review action items and their status since the last meeting.
  • Address the meeting’s agenda items one by one, shared beforehand to maintain focus.
  • Involve all by calling members directly for inputs.
  • Decisions made should be stated explicitly and repetitively to stress their importance.
  • Conclude with the distribution of tasks clarified during the meeting, ensuring no room for ambiguity.

Ultimately, creating a culture where candid exchange, active participation, and timely closure are valued will enhance the meeting experience and overall productivity within the team.

7.   The Power of Delegation

Delegating tasks effectively and appropriately can catapult team productivity and allow everyone to focus on their core tasks.

Adopting this behavior signifies trust in the abilities of others; it’s a strategic measure to maintain a balance and dispense workload judiciously.

However, delegating does not equate to completely offloading your responsibilities. It involves entrusting the essential responsibilities among the team members and mentoring them throughout.

Another point to remember: assess the roles correctly and extend tasks according to each member’s capability and capacity.

However, over-delegation or under-delegation can ruin the process.

The purpose of task delegation, at its core, is to let managers focus on tasks and growth-oriented objectives. They are required to take responsibility for tasks within their skill range.

When delegating —

  • Articulate clear expectations and realistic deadlines.
  • Use tools such as Trello or Asana for project management and tracking, making sure everyone is on the same page.
  • Prioritize transparency; managers must always be approachable for guidance.

8.   Encourage Professional Development and Upskilling

Advances in the technology and art industries have significant effects. Organizations must cultivate self-development and training among staff to stay competitive.

As technology advances, market trends change; thus, continuous self-improvement, staying up-to-date, and adapting are a must.

Online courses, virtual seminars, workshops, and certifications — they are all essential to engage employees and boost performance as well as contentment.

LinkedIn and Coursera offer various professional development options. There are expert-led courses and templates that can be purchased for employees.

Integrating a Learning and Development Program (or an L&D program) into company culture shows employers’ investment in their employees. This in turn makes the employee feel that they are taken care of.

Strategies for advancing employees’ skill sets can include but are not limited to: 

  • Sponsoring tuition
  • Providing in-house training
  • Coding boot camps
  • Granting leave for further education and conferences
  • Skill sharing, where organizations initiate knowledge exchange programs for employees across different domains to share insights

Also, don’t lose sight of soft skills development. The reason is that they equally contribute to strengthening the team dynamics.

  • Pooling and employing a corporate library filled with relevant industry literature can act as a quick reference point.
  • Organized mentoring programs where seasoned professionals guide newbies or juniors help transfer crucial organizational knowledge from generation to generation, imbibing the company’s ethos fruitfully.
  • Managers and HR can assess trends and gaps related to industry knowledge and skills and design relevant development and upskilling initiatives.
  • Discussions related to self and professional development during performance review meetings can help employees align individual goals with organizational strategy – making growth more streamlined.

Harnessing the Potential: Elevating Team Productivity

Research shows that cultivating an extraordinary workplace and an effective team requires satisfying three psychological needs; autonomy, competence, and relatedness.

Studies spanning decades have found that when these needs are met — people are typically healthier, happier, and more productive.

That’s when real empowerment unveils its potential.

Be it investing in people enablement software or following the 85% rule — all of this can satisfy those three needs. Eventually, this can augment employees’ innate strengths, fuel employee autonomy, and establish strong team relatability.

So ask yourself today: What can I do today to build a high-performing team that is happier, healthier, and more productive?