Are Your People High Performing? 

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As a business leader, you want your workforce to be consistently high performing whether working from an office building or out of sight at home. High performance ensures your customers get quality service, you get the greatest return on your investment, and those you lead are living a fulfilling life. Yet in many companies, the majority of people are not high performing; hence the 20/80 split where 20% of the team do all the heavy lifting.

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”

Michael Jordan

“You can motivate by fear, and you can motivate by reward. But both those methods are only temporary. The only lasting thing is self-motivation.

Homer Rice

A popular belief is that there is a finite number of high-performing people in the marketplace and that you must route them out during your hiring process. What if this is not true? What if most people have high performance capabilities but are missing the essential conditions required to nurture them? What if high performance is really about your human system: how your people are supported to think, feel, speak and act? What if this is at the root of your outcomes?

When a flower or vegetable seed is planted in a garden, we know the viability and wellbeing of the plant is largely dependent upon the conditions of the soil; is there sufficient plant nutrition, rain, sunlight and root space, free of weeds? To provide anything less than ideal is to waste time and net mediocre results. This is equally true regarding the performance of your people. When you become disappointed in low performance, the temptation is to assume the lack is within the person. I encourage you to look elsewhere; look to your human system, which begs the question: What are the right conditions and conversations needed so my people thrive? Here are just some of them:

  1. Intrinsic Motivation: To be high performing, your people must learn to rely on intrinsic (internal) motivators rather than extrinsic (external) ones. Know the difference and dismantle the second to adopt the first. Shift the practices of your authority figures from seeking to control behavior to supporting self-governance and task ownership instead. Most leaders do not recognize or contemplate this shift, nor recognize cause and effect regarding performance. They do not realize the implications of such a choice. Instead, they repeat what they know; use of extrinsic motivators such as policing, bribing, praising, criticizing or enabling people. These control methods rely on extrinsic motivation, weakening the inner guidance and initiative of people at every age, all while being considered normal. High performers are those people who discover meaningfulness in all they do, learn to exercise their choice often, are trained to become competent in many skills, and recognize and celebrate their successes. Unfortunately, conditions in support of these intrinsic motivators are often missing, resulting in at best compliance and at worst rebellion, neither of which are commitment, the main character trait required for performance excellence.
  1. Social Interest: In a healthy workplace, people are taught social interest; how to consciously cause positive consequences for others by exercising personal power and initiative to bring about good. Only then do they experience the joy that comes from service and excellence. If they do not develop social interest, operate from purpose and values, or fail to get opportunities to use and trust their power, they go to sleep to their personal responsibility and contributions. Just like a healthy garden, by introducing the right conditions aka intrinsic motivation and social interest, you witness new and bountiful results from most, if not all, of your people.
  1. Emotional Intelligence: When your people become self-aware and self-managing and socially-aware and expert at managing relationships, they build trust and teamwork. By providing them with what they need to fully get along, get and stay motivated and get more done, they learn relationship and communication skills that support them in being collaborative and confident. It is said that purpose eats strategy for breakfast. It is also true that emotional intelligence eats intellectual intelligence every time.

Do you have a passionate commitment to develop your people? Are you open to innovative change and willing go out of your way to support high performance in them? Will you invest resources of time and money to make sure they are intrinsically motivated and have ample social interest and emotional intelligence? If your answers are yes, all you need is a consistent, proven system for adopting, implementing and sustaining such changes. This is where I can help. Call me today to discuss the high performance you wish to cultivate in your team. Let’s get started!

This article is published in the St. Louis Small Business Monthly in the column The Extraordinary Workplace, March 2021.

Why People Hire LifeWork Systems

Business owners and executives, community leaders, parents, educators and individuals hire LifeWork Systems because they know that effective conditions and conversations make all the difference in building trusting relationships, achieving dreams, and creating solutions and innovations for our evolving world. When people are happy and responsible, emotionally and socially intelligent, confident, and appropriately seen, heard, and supported, they always exceed expectations. We help instill into every person common concepts, terms, tools, and processes that result in healthy, happy, caring and contributing individuals, teams and organizations. Our mission is to create a world in which all people love their lives!

We appreciate you being here on our website and encourage you to reach out to us directly at or  314.239.4727. May something we offered in this article and website help you love YOUR life ~ because YOU matter!

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