5 Things Spark Plugs Do to Inspire High Performing Teams

Some teams soar. Other teams splash around just above the surface.

Giving CPR to low performing teams feels more important than encouraging high performing teams, but it isn’t.

Spend more time fueling high performers and less time giving CPR to low performers.

Don’t let dead spots overshadow bright spots in your organization. Fuel bright spots before they burn out. (Don’t freak out. You need to work with low performing teams, too.)

Learn from bright spots in your organization.

Spotting bright spots:

Look for…

  1. High energy.
  2. Strong results.
  3. Deep connection.
  4. Consistent creativity.
  5. Powerful grit. Resolve to overcome obstacles. It’s hard to stop a bright spot team.
  6. Desire to contribute.
  7. Realistic optimism. “We can figure this out.”
  8. Consistent iterative improvement. High performing teams make imperfect decisions and improve as they go. Dead spots need perfection BEFORE they go. Bright spots perfect AS they go.
  9. Open communication. Highly engaged people bring up tough issues and provide timely feedback.
  10. Confident self-respect. High energy people that bring strong results feel good about themselves and their team members.

Spark plug:

When you see a bright spot in your organization, someone started it.

The most important people in every organization are mid and front-line managers. Every bright spot in your organization has a spark-plug-manager.

5 things spark-plug-managers do to inspire top performance:

Beyond the 10 above qualities, spark-plug-managers…

  1. Commit to self-improvement. Spark-plug-managers never arrive.
  2. Extend trust. Micromanagers throw cold water on bright spots. Trust is given not earned.
  3. Provide direction, not instruction. “This is where we’re going. How can we get there?”
  4. Coach more than command. Coaching helps people find and execute their own solutions.
  5. Maximize the strengths and talents of each team member. You must know strengths in order to maximize strengths.

What do the bright spots in an organization look like?

What do spark-plug-managers do?