How can I create a high-performance culture in my start-up?

Teams of very ambitious, self-disciplined people who are passionate about growth and undeterred by challenges are typical of high-performance organisations. And their leaders are driven, but self-assured enough to free co-workers to perform their roles without micromanaging them. Here are some tips to help you create a high-performance culture in your start-up.

1. Choose your team with care
Create a team comprising self-motivated members with carefully defined roles. Ensure everyone understands that the business’s overall success relies equally on their individual performance and their dependence on one another. Like a sports team, each member has an important role to play. Goals are achieved when everyone plays their part and interacts with other team members effectively.

2. Define goals
Focus and commitment to shared goals are crucial to creating high-performance companies. Make sure your team understands and is committed to your start-up’s goals. Determine up front whether decisions will be made by a designated leader or through a democratic process/consensus so that teams can focus on goals without becoming distracted.
As a founder of a start-up, you need to clearly explain your values, business culture and, more importantly, the premise of the business. Doing so will help your team understand the intended direction that you have set out to achieve. For a small business to be successful, it is essential to retain your A-players for a healthy duration. Doing so requires you to identify and nurture talent that resonates with your ethos and philosophy. Later they will be the ones to take on bigger roles to help achieve the vision of the business,” says Nabeel Hassanali, entrepreneur, business advisor and talent developer in Tanzania and Kenya.

3. Allow your team to challenge the status quo
Innovation is important to the success of most start-ups. Everyone in the organisation should feel comfortable about challenging processes, particularly if they believe there are better ways of doing things. Be open to considering new ideas and assessing the value of existing practices as required. Remember, a high-performance culture is an evolving one.

4. Provide on-going feedback and maintain transparency
People need to know how they are doing to stay motivated. Let your team know when they are doing well and when they can improve. Celebrate successes and work together to overcome challenges. Be transparent about how your start-up is faring. Trusting and including people in what is happening empowers them and encourages a high-performance culture.
Entrepreneurship is about being bold and leveraging your passion in others too. You have to show your team that you are committed and loyal to them for them to share in your dreams and have the same will and drive to succeed as you do,” notes Sanville Moses, business coach, mediator and small business developer at Fynbos Consultancy in South Africa.

5. A high-performance culture = a learning environment
A high-performance team is one that is constantly learning. Invest in the development of your team. Remember, learning happens through successes and through mistakes. Encourage people to constantly look for ways of improving their skills and knowledge, and support them in this endeavour by sending them on training courses and the like.