Man Cannot Live on Bread Alone:

Building High-Performance Teams

Author’s Corner

In this white paper, Jeff Shelmire, Senior Vice President of Professional Services, explores the concept of building a corporate culture that enriches employees' lives by fostering high-performance teams. He emphasizes the importance of a shared vision in unifying employees and provides practical advice on enlisting coworkers around a common goal through collaboration and effective communication.

Please click on the video to the right to learn more about the author, hear his insights on this white paper, and learn what motivated him to write about the process of building high-performance teams.

To discuss this white paper in detail, please contact Jeff using the information provided at the bottom of the page.

Have you ever been on a team that just clicked? One where everything the team did seemed to be engaging and fun? Work hours flew by, and everything the team did turned to gold? When was the last time this happened? Why is it not happening now?

Workers everywhere are evaluating the quality of their lives, re-setting their priorities, and making value judgments about how they spend their working hours. They want opportunity. Opportunity for financial advancement. Opportunity to learn new skills. Opportunity for health insurance. Opportunity for advanced education. Opportunity to work with a friend. Opportunity for adventure. Simply put, workers want a more fulfilling experience from their careers.

They want their lives enriched by corporate experience. As such, corporate culture as it relates to quality of life is a common topic of discussion amongst top global executives and rank and file alike. The challenge for the 21st-century global enterprise is how to create a corporate culture that fosters an environment where people can realize their full potential in their careers and personal lives. One step along the way to achieving this ambitious goal is to create high-performance teams.

So, how do we go about this?

Build and share a common vision

A shared vision is vital for a high-performance team. It is the ideal. It is the goal. Most often, the goal is difficult to achieve but within the range of achieving a positive outcome. Because a shared vision builds unity, team members are more likely to collaborate successfully and accomplish their objectives when they have a common vision.

The shared vision is the rallying point. It forms a sense of collective identity that permeates the business and advances a productive workplace environment. A well-crafted vision should inspire zeal and an elevated level of commitment. It encourages dedication and offers perspective.

It promotes empowerment, encourages initiative-taking, invites creativity, builds trust, and stimulates creative disagreement.


So then, how can I enlist coworkers around a vision and goal?

  • Collaborate.

    To achieve their objectives and provide one another with support along the way, high-performing teams must work together. Business leaders need not have it all figured out. It is good to collaborate with others so that they can help conceive the vision. Collaboration is the foundation for true business development, and by enlisting others to provide input, they naturally become invested in the process of developing the vision. Frame your conversations by saying, “These are my ideas, and I would like to hear yours too.”

  • Talk about the forest and the trees.

    Give your team a sense of the big picture and the reasons why achieving the current goal is essential. Each individual needs to understand why vision is important and how each task fits into the broader goal. Break goals down into digestible tasks with owners for each. Employees need to understand what resources are available to the team and how they can marshal those resources.

  • Be concise.

    Vision meetings can tend to drift into adjacent but irrelevant areas, and you do not want to overwhelm the team with too much information. Therefore, make a concerted effort to keep conversations relevant and on track.

  • Be inspiring.

    Have the courage to be bold and to make big decisions. Your attitude and behavior will set the tone for the team. Put simply, if you want your team to rally around a vision, you must be excited about it yourself. Show them you care through your attitude and your actions and not just your words.

Create an environment that encourages personal development

Leaders can help reveal an employee’s full potential by encouraging them to think and act in ways that come most naturally to them. This helps them build confidence by developing their personal style and their decision-making abilities.

Look for ways to strengthen less experienced employees with high potential with those who are even stronger. Another key factor is the presence of a supportive environment. To reach their potential, employees need access to resources and information. Here are some suggestions for building a workplace culture that encourages employees to realize their full potential:

  • Support each employee in developing a professional development plan each year.
  • Assign employees to mentors who can aid in their skill development and help them recognize their "blind spots."
  • Provide employees with challenging assignments.
  • Demonstrate trust by asking employees their opinions and acting honestly and transparently in your interactions.
  • Encourage individual development plans and ongoing learning.
  • Remove bureaucratic obstacles to progress.


Hire the person and not necessarily the position

Finding the right candidate for the job is essential, and you must look for someone with the skills and background needed to perform the job well. However, it is valuable to consider whether the person has other interests or talents that could benefit your organization outside of the role they carry.

A mistake that some companies make is that they restrain corporate and employee progress by establishing an environment that is too restrictive. If the environment is too restrictive, workers do not unleash the full capacity of their potential because they are not given an opportunity to contribute to areas of the business outside of their parochial role. The idea here is to unleash everybody’s potential.

This produces more satisfied workers and better business outcomes while establishing an environment that promotes and values individual learning and growth. Obviously, though, if you hire someone who does not fit with the culture of your company, they might not be comfortable in their position and might not perform as well as they could. In general, it is preferable to hire the right person than to quickly fill a position out of expediency or convenience. If you hire someone who is not a good fit for the business, you might find yourself replacing them sooner rather than later.

Embrace Diversity

Humans are a varied lot, and it is ideal to have a highly competent workforce with individual backgrounds that vary as much as practical. High-performing teams are diverse in terms of skills, backgrounds, cultures, and personalities. Diversity is a hedge against groupthink.

According to Webster’s Dictionary, "groupthink is a pattern of thought characterized by self-deception, forced manufacture of consent, and conformity to group values and ethics." i

Groupthink is perilous because it can result in the rejection or omission of crucial information, which can result in bad judgment and leadership mistakes. For instance, if opposing viewpoints are suppressed, decision-makers might not be fully informed about all potential risks. Groupthink encourages conformity, which results in a lack of individual responsibility and group justification.

Those stymied in the quagmire of groupthink may not even realize they are not considering individual differences and the thoughts, goals, and ideas of each individual. Bad decision-making and serious ethical breaches can be the result.


Final Thoughts

As leaders, it is our job to make the corporate experience rewarding to employees beyond a paycheck and a benefits package. Indeed, humans cannot live on bread alone. By taking formal steps to create a culture that generates high-performance teams, leaders can enrich the lives of those who work for them.

In so doing, they will have more fulfilled, productive, and motivated workers who are focused on the right things. When this happens, all sorts of wonderful outcomes emerge. The depth and range of your staff’s talent is expanded, deadlines are met, clients are better served, and sales increase. It is a win for employers, employees, and clients alike.


i https://www.merriam-webster.com/


Meet the Author

Jeff Shelmire - Senior Vice President of Professional Services

Jeff Shelmire is the Senior Vice President of Professional Services at Vee Healthtek. His expertise and ability to expand the company's client base into long-lasting relationships brings Vee Healthtek ahead of the curve.