Blog · Feb 21, 2014

High Performing Teams – Alignment and Motivation

Creating a high performing team

We meet people on a daily basis who have reached a high level of success in their careers, often as part of a team. At some stage they find themselves heading up a team of their own, and the question on their lips is often around the challenge of how to create a high performing team that will reach the goals set for it. Often, the realisation of full potential in any team or individual can be brought to fruition all the more quickly when the right business coaching team is brought in.

In any case, there are traits that we see time and again, in those team leaders who achieve their aims. They are often working towards constant improvement in performance – both on an individual level and on a corporate level. We usually see a powerful desire to to accelerate their achievements, and to ensure they are maximising the team efforts to make that happen.

Aligning your team with a Crazy goal

So when it comes to creating that high performing team, what are the questions to ask to ensure a motivated and aligned task force? What helps when it comes to aligning that team?

At Will It Make The Boat Go faster? we use our own terminology for many of the questions around this subject. On our performance programmes, there are carefully designed sessions run by our team, to enable teams and team members to really drill down to what motivates them. The end game is the evolving of the Crazy goal.

Here are the questions we ask teams to work through:

What floats your boat?

Leaders, and employees working as part of their team, need to understand their key drivers. It’s commonplace to discover that many teams are not clear on the wider goals of the organisation, and in some cases, not clear on the concrete goals of the team itself. Without that clarity, progress will be slow. However, once that crystal clear vision has been established, the work can begin on establishing how and why each team member will buy into that vision.

How do you communicate this to your team and get them to buy in to the Crazy goal?

We have coined the phrase, Crazy goal, for a very specific reason – it’s how Ben Hunt-Davis, one of the founders of Will It Make The Boat Go Faster, took the dream of winning Olympic Gold in the Sydney Olympics in 2000, and put in place the steps and everyday layers that made a seemingly “crazy” aim, into an achievable and eventually-realised success story.

What elements of your Crazy goal will motivate your employees? In many cases, every team member’s motivation will be different.

Team alignment with a common goal

How do you link each team member to the Crazy goal? How do you get them to understand what’s in it for them? Clearly, team alignment in one common goal is integral to its eventual success.

Using motivation as a driver for team success 

This is the heart of our approach. We see interesting results from ourteam workshops where there is always a mix of very personal drivers.

Examples of these include “Success because it will enable the next step of my life and enable opportunities for my family” through to “being part of an exceptional team motivates me” and provides a “new challenge I will thrive off”


The point of getting to the hub of these personal motivators is that once each member understands how they can work towards their own goals, the team performance improves and the results follow.

If you are working with a team, what process has worked for you in terms of encouraging high performance?

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