Why You Need a High-Performance Team

A great team is key to achieving huge success

By John Bowen, founder and CEO of CEG Worldwide

Key Takeaways:

  • Elite financial advisors function as part of high-performance teams.
  • When you’re part of an HPT, you’re not responsible for everything—other team members are truly empowered and effective.
  • HPT members regularly share ideas, learn new things and reach optimal solutions far more often than other teams.
  • HPT members view themselves as stewards both of their job responsibilities and of the well-being and success of other team members.

Few things in the world of business are as satisfying, stimulating or as economically productive as being part of a top-notch team. Think back to the best team you’ve ever been on. Maybe it was a sports or school team. Remember how exhilarating it was to be part of a group in which everyone really pulled for each other and consistently gave their very best?

You can have that same experience in your practice today. Almost without exception, elite financial advisors that we coach at CEG Worldwide function as part of what we call high-performance teams, or HPTs.

As a result, these advisors are able to accomplish great things compared to lesser teams, including:

  • Leveraging their individual value, talents and skills to create extraordinary economic success for themselves and other team members.
  • Being free to develop their unique strengths and to focus on client-facing activities that generate revenue.
  • Creating resilient and robust organizations that consistently provide clients with great results and exceptional service.
The ABCs of HPTs

When you’re part of an HPT, you’re not responsible for everything. If something goes wrong that you can’t personally handle or if you’re sick or otherwise unavailable, there’s a powerful and resilient team behind you that you can rely on to take appropriate action.

As part of an HPT, you’ll also often find that your way of doing things isn’t the only way—or even the best way. Team members will show you other ideas, you will regularly learn new things and you will far more often reach optimal solutions. And regardless of how wonderful you may be as an individual, no one person can meet the needs and goals of all clients, partners and other key players. As part of an HPT, you can leverage and benefit from the skills, knowledge and personal chemistry of many talented and committed individuals.

What does an HPT look like—and how can you tell if you’re already part of one? HPTs are composed of the following elements:

  • High trust
  • Honest and regular communication
  • Equanimity in giving and receiving feedback and mutual support
  • A positive, enjoyable and attractive work environment that stimulates curiosity and makes recruiting easier
  • Regular assessment of results so team members learn and are able to improve
  • High levels of group intelligence, along with good learning and feedback loops and a focus on continuous improvement
  • The ability to manage on several levels simultaneously, with excellent change management skills

This last element—the ability to manage on several levels simultaneously—is especially important to successful HPTs. Most teams are task-oriented—that is, they focus on just one thing: completing the tasks at hand. On HPTs, however, one or more team members will give thought and attention to watching, measuring and improving all the following levels:

  • Work processes or tasks
  • Values and vision
  • Emotional interactions and trust levels
  • Group and interpersonal dynamics and skills
  • Individual and group feedback and learning processes

On a non-HPT, it’s quite common for one or most of these levels to be neglected. Sometimes the team members aren’t even aware of work processes. They focus on tasks but ignore how the work actually gets done.

The importance of stewardship

Underlying this multiple-level management is the notion of stewardship. On an ideal HPT, all the team members view themselves as stewards both of their job responsibilities and of the well-being and success of other team members. Further, team members view themselves as stewards of all the resources that the team needs to function. Similarly, the team’s leaders view the members as customers of their leadership service. They make it their business to provide necessary resources, including attention, awareness and change-initiating conversations.

This doesn’t mean team members get to do whatever they want or that leaders are there just to serve team members’ needs. Part of being a good steward in a leadership role is setting standards and goals and holding people accountable. So while the leaders have the most responsibility, everyone on the team has the opportunity to treat fellow team members as the organization’s customers. This eliminates these negative attributes:

  • Being controlling
  • Failing to freely share information
  • Failing to listen
  • Failing to validate how others feel
  • Putting personal needs or ego-based desires over things that might be good for the team or the team’s clients

Clearly, there are numerous important advantages to being part of an HPT. In an upcoming article, I’ll show you the key characteristics of top HPTs and how to create a team that possesses those key traits.

About the Author

CEG Worldwide’s founder and CEO, John Bowen has long been known as a leader in the area of adding value to financial services firms. Bowen started his career as an independent broker-dealer representative and then became a fee-based financial advisor. He was ultimately named the CEO of Reinhardt Werba Bowen (RWB), a money management firm that helped other financial advisors raise billions of dollars in assets. In 1998, Bowen became CEO of Assante Capital Management upon the acquisition of RWB by Assante. He left Assante to start CEG Worldwide in 2001, in order to help advisors realize substantial success through the use of CEG Worldwide’s business development systems.

He is the author of many books, including Breaking Through: Building a World-Class Wealth Management Business and The Prudent Investor’s Guide to Beating the Market.