Thought Leadership

Translating The Formula For High-Performing Teams

How To Measure High-Performing Teams? 

In his well-known business book "Good to Great", Jim Collins summarized the formula for high-performing teams as “getting the right leaders in the right seats on the bus”!

To make this formula quantifiable, it can be translated as follows: High-performing teams are an ideal state in which team culture and business models are aligned to make higher sustainable performance inevitable.

A high-performing team is a state in which four key conditions are optimized...

Leaders Are Accountable For Business Culture (e.g., Fabrice Tourre Followed The Leader)

So, Fabrice Tourre, it really was a crime.
In the end, Wall Street greed drove Mr. Tourre to lie and deceive. -- SEC lawyer Matthew Martens 

Former Goldman Sachs vice president Fabrice Tourre was found liable today. He knowingly deceived investors about the real value of the mortgage-related financial products he was selling. They were toxic bombs. We now all know the story. So do tens of millions of others who suffered from the implosion of a deregulated financial sector's ability to create wealth for itself and pass the risk on to, well, tens of millions of others.

I'll let HuffPo reflect my frustration of the gov't's ability to bust only a foot soldier so far...

Most Team's Aren't High-Performing Teams

Businessman LoserThe belief that working in teams makes us more creative and innovative — that teams are a better way to get things done — is deeply entrenched. However, I can tell you from working with hundreds of leaders and teams, it is often not true, but it can be fixed!

From experience, there are three kinds of teams:

First, there are a small number of teams that are committed to the personal struggles of their leaders above sustainable high-performance. As a result, these kinds of teams can be dysfunctional nightmares. However, such teams tend to self-destruct so they are relatively rare.

Second, there are teams...

Business Strategy for Nonprofits—A Primer


The ability to craft effective business strategies is essential for nonprofit organizations being able to respond to rapidly changing conditions and deliver on their mission. The excerpt below from an article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review (a must-read for nonprofit leaders) addresses a key element of what is needed: strategic thinking. And to take this one step further, we need to develop cultures of strategic thinkers—teams working together to constantly create, innovate and test strategies for growth.

“We think that what is necessary today is a strategy that breaks free of static plans to be adaptive and directive, that emphasizes learning and control, and that reclaims the value of strategic thinking for the world that now surrounds us.”

The Strategic Plan is Dead. Long Live Strategy—Stanford Social Innovation Review

Are There Blind Spots That Doom Post-Merger Integration?

Are there blind spots that doom post merger integration? Yes. Business owners, after years of hard work, facing a payday, can be blissfully blind to cultural and leadership land mines. Triggered in the fog of post-merger integration, they cost organizations dearly, in terms of talent loss, workflow capability, and strategic alignment. I saw this blind spot six months ago in my local Starbucks ...
There I ran into a business acquaintance of mine (call him John). John is the CEO of a successful healthcare consultancy that has grown into a national player in the corporate health arena. I learned that John was out of the office studying an offer for the purchase of his firm by a large European conglomerate. The calculator was out and there was a look in his eye that said, “Leave me alone. I have been waiting my whole life for this moment." Nonetheless, I pushed into the conversation. I was puzzled because John had spent twelve years building a dream team to leverage his successful business model, vowing he would never sell...

The Corporate Athlete - “Going Out of Bounds!”

The Corporate Athlete

The corporate athlete is willing to be uncomfortable and risk playing out outside of their own boundaries.

I believe great business leaders and great athletes have a lot in common! The playing fields or competitive settings may differ, but the qualities of both competitors are very much the same!

So, what does it take to become a corporate athlete and business champion? The solution is so basic and so simple and yet is overlooked by most way too often.

Success in and out of business and sports is directly related to how willing you are to venture outside of your own boundaries and comfort zone. It's not the natural talent or the business experiences you had, it is not the physical gifts or the advance degrees that separate the best from all the rest...

Mindset-A Game Changer

Mindset-CreativityFor anyone engaged in organizational development or executive coaching work, the importance of leadership mindset is a given. Often the first step in helping a leader or team move beyond current limitations and fixed ways of seeing and acting is addressing ineffective mindsets head-on. In our work at Growth River, “Effective Mindset” is one of the core conditions we focus on with teams to create the conditions for success (How Leadership Teams Successfully Create Aligned Business Strategy).

My appreciation for just how important mindset is deepened as the result of my recent experience facilitating a 2-day alignment workshop with a nonprofit leadership team...