1- Consistency: It can be really painful, and confusing for employees to be faced with inconsistent actions and behaviors in the organization. What I mean by consistency here is ensuring that employees are consistently seeing their leadership acting in the same way and manners in all identical situations, taking in consideration the difference in each situation and behaving accordingly, with the employees. Consistency ensures fairness, cultivates trust and eliminates bias, which is critical in redirecting negative energy and undesirable behavior, which in turn plays a critical role in creating highly performing teams.
People always pay attention to the less obvious actions of their leadership and how this leadership behaves. They analyze these actions, and each comes up with his/her own interpretations and conclusions, leading to all sorts of inner thoughts and believes, which in many cases can be misleading and destructive to the employees and their mortal, leading to low performance and in some cases to performance issues that take time and effort to deal with.
If you want to build and sustain high levels of exceptional performance spirit in your team, act consistently with all employees, all the time.
2- Synergy: As leaders, many of us have encountered a situation at one point in time where we felt that someone in the team is not “in sync”. That might happen for various reasons. That person may not be the proper fit with this team, or he/she might have external issues impacting the performance at that point in time, or other reasons that may not be readily obvious.
One important factor to consider whenever Exceptional performance is desired is “synergy”.
In general, synergy (pronounced SIN-ur-jee , from Greek sunergia , meaning “cooperation,” and also sunergos , meaning “working together”) is the combined working together of two or more parts of a system so that the combined effect is greater than the sum of the efforts of the parts. In business and technology, the term describes a hoped-for or real effect resulting from different individuals, departments, or companies working together and stimulating new ideas that result in greater productivity.
With this understanding in mind, it is essential to note that for Synergy to pay off, it must be cultivated at the very early stages in creating exceptionally performing teams.
To me synergy is not created or built after hiring the employee, but rather planned for and built-in, it starts at the early stages of planning our products and services.
We should “design” and decide on what exceptional performance means to us, and what type of teams and individuals needed for it; what set of beliefs, talents, skills and competencies needed, and what sort of goals and interests and attitudes they need, and what learning they might need to have for them to excel.
Once we are clear about that, targeting, attracting and hiring the right talents becomes crucial for the success of these teams.
Equally important, we must consider that the team members, their leader and the organization all share similar sets of believes, interests and attitudes (basically having the proper recipe and mix) to enhance the chances for producing outstanding performance.
When not well done, we start seeing all sorts of challenges we see nowadays in the form of low performance, lost business opportunities, high retention of “just ok” performers, increased attrition, and fairly moderate growth rates, etc.
3- Human-Centered Leadership: A number of years ago, I was at a very nice restaurant that served exquisitely. The cuisine was very good, but nothing really out of the ordinary. That service experience made me wonder, “What is so special about this place that makes it such a unique experience?”
Couldn’t help myself but to ask one of the waiters there, “What makes you so special that your place is so full, yet you are serving a pretty common cuisine?”
It didn’t take the waiter long to answer back saying: ”I think we like it here. We serve you delightful experience.” When I asked why, he said “Well that’s what we get from our management, we like the way we are treated and we like our customers to feel the same, so why not”. That was astonishing.
Since then, every time I engage with a group of employees, I always ask them what makes them tick and go beyond the common and ordinary, what makes them excel. Consistently, the answer is always related to the leadership in the organization in a way or another.
When leadership is consistently and genuinely interested in the employees and customers, (how to help them, support them and make a difference in their lives), it always produces a completely different (exceptional) customer-company experience.
For employees to outperform, go beyond the boundaries of “good performance” they need to feel they are supported, recognized and observed. They need to feel that they matter and they are not just tools to get things done. They need to feel that they are important for what they are, and not only important for the company.
If we want for our customers to engage in an exceptional experience, employees need to live and enjoy similar experience as well. This is possible when leaders care for their employees as much as they care for their customers.