Five habits for a high-performing team

Nexus member and Tougher Minds Founder & MD, Dr. Jon Finn, shares his top 5 habits to help you and your team succeed and thrive.

Why are high-performing teams important?

If we consider the evolutionary process, humans were never the biggest, strongest or fastest animal on the planet. The main reason we prospered in a ‘hostile environment’ is our unique ability to intelligently work together and outsmart competitor species.

This insight is valid for our modern lives and work. The ‘collective intelligence’ of a group can be greater than the sum of its parts. Thankfully, we no longer need to compete against sabre-tooth tigers but working as a team will make it easier to fail fast, innovate, succeed and thrive.


Team Power crisis?

Our fast-changing world means that organisations need to be better than ever at innovating quickly if they want to stay ahead of the competition. But the conditions of the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world make it difficult for individuals to function well, and teams to perform at their best.

Given this rapid state of flux in our societies, the question many businesses and organisations ask themselves is: ‘How can our people and teams succeed and thrive?’

I am going to help you answer that question by sharing five simple and practical habits that will help you and your teams succeed and thrive. Let’s start by thinking about how teams work.


The five stages of Team Power

Climbing a mountain is a great metaphor to help us understand how to create a powerful, effective and well-functioning team. Based on my research and work, there are five stages that high-performing, successful teams must go through to reach the top and achieve their collective goals.

Diagram of mountain with 5 stages marked

Here is an overview of the five stages, starting from the bottom of the mountain. I have also shared a habit tip for each stage to make it easier to implement them.

Stage 1 – Me Power Conditioning: Everyone deliberately choosing to work towards being at their best more often.

Habit 1: Encourage and support everyone in your team to regularly reflect on their helpful and unhelpful lifestyle and emotional management habits (diet, exercise, sleep, emotional regulation etc) and then equip them with knowledge and skills to build more helpful habits. We have created a free tool called the A.P.E. Test to help people with this.

Stage 2 – Community Base Camp: Creating big goals, a strategy and deciding your priorities.

Habit 2: If you are the team leader, develop a habit of regularly talking about:

  • The teams’ long-term goals and purpose
  • The teams’ immediate priorities
  • How individual team members’ roles and responsibilities are contributing to achieving those priorities

Stage 3 – Group Climbing Support: Everyone should be modelling good behaviour and communicating in a positive way that helps to get things done.

Habit 3: Everyone choosing to care for everyone else as if they were a member of their own family.

Stage 4 – Campfire Discussion: Coaching people and helping them to grow, improve and deliver results.

Habit 4: Team members should be supported weekly or bi-weekly on a one-to-one basis to build better habits for health, happiness and performance.

Stage 5 – Group Climbing Review: Planning to collectively step-back, reflect and adjust priorities accordingly – helping the team achieve its goals.

Habit 5: Build time in the team calendar for periodical (maybe monthly or every six weeks) collective reflection on team performance.