18 Nov 2019

How do you motivate a team for high performance?

More specifically, how do you motivate your team that’s perhaps performing at a six out of 10 and work with them so they can perform at an eight, nine, or 10 out of ten? 

I had the opportunity to watch a CEO recently seeking to motivate her team. It didn’t go well. She pulled up a video on her phone  –  it was of her grandson saying, “Go, go, go!” It was cute. For her, it was highly motivating. For her team, some of whom were rolling their eyes as if this was something they had heard hundreds of times – it was – it was more something to be endured before they moved back to their desk to carry on with their day.

High-performing teams do need motivation, but it’s not gonna spring from a short video, a sport or movie quote or a short training course unless it’s applied to them – it need to be specific and tailored for a purpose. 

If you want to motivate your team to high-performing team, you can do it by using one of five key elements.


Firstly, you can motivate for purpose. That is, you provide a clear vision of how each person’s effort and work is gonna have an impact for the broader team, and how it’s gonna help them achieve their personal goal.


Two, you can motivate for grit. What is it that you’ve had to work through that you found difficult and got past, and what is it that they can do to also get past a stumbling block or difficulty?

Applied Strength

Three, you can motivate for applied strength, that is, every person has their own strengths and weaknesses – how will you motivate them to apply their strengths at the right place, at the right time for the right purpose?


Four, you can motivate for responsibility. That is, will they put up their hand to say it was me and I needed to do this work or do that better? You can motivate your team to work together for dual accountability and perform higher.


Finally, you can motivate for discipline, that is, what it is you’re gonna get them – and you – to do to focus on those little things that will get perfected over time and be like clockwork to improve performance? 

For high-performing teams, motivation is more than a one off, 5 minute process. It is dedication inspired by one of those five key motivational elements that makes all the difference. 

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