CHICAGO — This column is part of our “People Strategies for Growth” series, where we feature inspiring insights from successful business leaders. These strategies can provide a roadmap for other top decision-makers to grow their business with purpose. Read the other articles in the series here.

Robyn Clark is the founder and president of WinningWise, a consulting firm that specializes in executive leadership and team development. In this column, she answers the question, “As we transition out of the pandemic, working from home is becoming more of a choice than necessity. With this hybrid work model, how can leaders foster a deep level of engagement in employees? How can a workplace promote innovation when connecting virtually?

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Teaming is always a challenge, and the pandemic hasn’t made it easier. Nothing beats the performance and great experience of being part of an engaged, nimble, driven and innovative team. As leaders, how do we create that, especially when we are working virtually or in a hybrid model? What is practical and applicable now?

There are three key elements to achieving a high-performing team, virtual or not. The good news: The elements aren’t that different. Let’s dig deeper and identify exactly what you can do to lead and grow a strong, high-performing team.

Strong, trusting relationships where people value and appreciate positive intent allow you to fully analyze results, give powerful feedback and push each other to do even more, even better.


1) Identify a meaningful and shared common purpose. High-performing teams form from the inside out. They must have a shared/common purpose. The more aligned they are to that purpose, the stronger the team will be. To see how this works, think of your neighborhood. From time to time, you might help a neighbor with their yard work or childcare, and although those may be very positive and helpful interactions, you’re not a team because you likely don’t have a shared/common purpose. In organizations, there are groups of people that are no more aligned than friendly neighbors, and although that is by no means a toxic culture, it’s not a high-performing team, either. When working virtually, that purpose matters because it is easy to get distracted. To maximize performance, you want to engage their hearts and minds with real and meaningful purpose.


2) Set a BIG goal. The BIGGER the shared/common purpose or goal, the stronger the team performance will be. There’s a happy medium, however, between an utterly unrealistic goal, which will generally raise performance initially but drop off over time, and a powerful stretch goal. If you want a high-performing team that’s driven to achieve, then set a powerful stretch goal. Make it something bigger than they could have imagined and something that everyone has to bring their A+ game to achieve. And keep the focus focused — in other words, don’t have too many goals — one to three maximum. Research shows that the higher the number of goals, the lower the achievement of them. And when working virtually, the focus on goals matters. Keeping your eye on the ball will keep everyone in the game.


That is how a high-performing team is built … and how it wins and lasts.

If you are interested in exploring how your organization can strengthen its ability to develop high-performing teams, WinningWise is here to help. Learn more and set up a consultation at

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