The Link Between High-Performing Teams and EOS

One of the most complicated aspects of conducting business operations through the pandemic has been how to foster tight team work and keep the circles connected in organizations, without burning everyone out through constant back-to-back video meetings. Many business owners and leadership teams I have been talking with are struggling to find the right balance that builds their group into a high-performing team.

The Harvard Business Review recently published a great article, 5 Things High-Performing Teams Do Differently, detailing actions that High Performing Teams do that foster and enhance their team performance. As I read that article I was struck by the close connection between the actions the authors observed in their research, and the tools we use in EOS to enhance the cohesion and functioning of our clients’ organizational teams.

The HBR authors identified five key differences in actions high performing teams demonstrated. Here is a summary of those actions along with my take on their correspondence with our EOS tools:

Action 1: Pick up the phone and communicate more frequently.

In EOS we encourage open and honest communication through building a healthy team and setting up a communication cadence that keeps the circles in the business connected just right. If the circles in your business are not connected at all, then you have a siloed organization and communication only flows vertically, not horizontally across the organization. If the circles overlap completely, then people feel smothered and micro-managed. Keeping the circles connected just right allows the right amount of informed communication, and the right amount of autonomy, which drives employee engagement. Phone calls, actual human-to-human voice communications, often achieve so much more in keeping the circles connected than an endless stream of emails, because actual voice communication carries a lot more information, conscious and unconscious, that contributes to gaining clarity.

Action 2: Be more strategic with meetings.

In EOS we teach our clients a weekly, quarterly and annual meeting cadence. In addition to having these meetings on a regular schedule, we teach our clients to increase the effectiveness of those meetings through having team members be accountable for pre-work (scorecard, issues and headlines), following our specific Level 10 meeting agenda, and starting each meeting with taking time to check in with each other. All these qualities were cited by the study’s authors in the research they did with high-performing teams. In addition to the meeting qualities cited in the HBR article, in EOS we also emphasize meetings must start on time and finish on time. There is nothing quite so energy-sapping as a leadership group sitting around a meeting table waiting for that one person to show up before they can all start. Time spent in meetings is incredibly valuable – shepherd that time wisely and be respectful of others’ time.

Action 3: Bond over non-work topics.

In EOS we make sure team members are regularly sharing personal good news with their peers, as well as making sure they spend time on building team health through non-work activities. I have seen amazing things happen working with leadership teams and getting them to open up with each other beyond the strict work environment. Sometimes people work together for years without knowing about the backgrounds and life-stories of their co-workers. When teams take those chances with leaning in to being vulnerable and sharing with their team-mates, then much deeper bonds of trust are formed, and that foundation of building trust leads to greater empathy for each other, which increases the chances of an environment where people know someone has their back when they need it.

Action 4: Give and receive appreciation.

As entrepreneurs, business leaders, and team members, being compensated appropriately for the work we each do in the world is a core part of the EOS Life. But what really makes a difference in reinforcing those tight bonds in a high-performing team is knowing that we are making a difference, and being recognized for that can be very motivating. To see others, to appreciate them and to express gratitude energizes the whole team. In EOS the key is cultivating that right environment that makes the culture of your organization the right one to allow the team to come together and excel. To establish the right culture, as EOS Implementers we work with our clients to help them establish the core values of the team, which sets the standard and forms a foundation for being able to recognize others when they exhibit those core values on a day-to-day basis.

Action 5: More authentic at work.

In EOS we constantly teach: open and honest. When you are aligned as a team and know who you are, what you are great at, where you are going and how you are going to get there, then you can put politics aside and focus on what needs to get done for the greater good of the organization. Being open and honest about what’s coming up within the team dynamic is how the team can process through it together, and to help each other be their best. In my career, as in personal relationships, I’ve seen and learned that bottling it up, or squashing down the feelings, is not the sustainable way forward in the long term. This doesn’t mean being tactless or abusive, but leaning into conversations with curiosity and empathy, showing that you care. Showing up authentically at work is a necessary thing, and in encouraging everyone on the team to do likewise, I think the following quote is a useful one to keep in mind: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

High-performing teams are the magic that can take your business to the next level. Some of the best and most memorable experiences of my life designing multi-million dollar racing yachts have been when I’ve been working in the zone with other motivated, energized individuals, and we have bonded together into a group achieving more than the sum of our parts. I know you can have these experiences too, and with the right frameworks in place, your teams can perform their absolute best, taking your business on the path to high-performance.

If you this resonates with you, and you would like to see what elevating your business with EOS looks like, please reach out and schedule a call. I help first.



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