I was reading a book written by Facebook for its staff when I saw something that genuinely excited and inspired me.

It endorses everything I believe about leading high performance teams. It’s a habit Facebook embraces; it underpins excellence. It’s an approach that will make your team a winner. 

Facebook and the great Manchester United coach Sir Alex Ferguson have one thing very much in common.

Sir Alex would focus less on training technical skills, and more about inspiring players to strive to do better, and to never give up. He recruited what he calls ‘bad losers’, and demanded that they work extremely hard. Over the years, this attitude became contagious - players didn’t accept teammates not giving it their all. The biggest stars were no exception. Facebook’s mantra is similar, and hugely inspiring.

Here it is:

High standards are a job perk.

Think about it. We all want to be working alongside winners - the best. We want to learn and grow, and to be inspired to push ourselves as far as our abilities can take us. To do that, we need to ensure our teams, businesses, partnerships and relationships are underpinned by a core value of excellence - of accepting nothing but the highest standard of service, attitude, integrity, transparency, intent. “Everything we did was about maintaining the standards we had set as a football club,” Sir Alex elaborated.

Groucho Marx once famously said: “I would never be a member of a club who would have me as a member.” Haha. But actually, pretty insightful. If we know our standards are low, how the hell can we ever be proud of the company or team that will have us as a member?

How are you doing? How are your teams doing? What standards do you set? Are they high enough? And do you deliver them, consistently?

Seriously, get your teams together and ask yourself these three questions:

  1. What are the standards we demand we all set, consistently?
  2. How are we doing right now in delivering to that level?
  3. What can we do in the first quarter of next year to step up to a higher level of delivery?

Ask yourself the same questions: Make them about brand You! How are YOU doing in the standards you set for yourself, and how is your track record in delivering on them - consistently?

Australian army chief David Campbell summed up his approach to setting standards this way: 

The standards you set are those you walk past.

If you see a lowering of acceptable standards, in client service, courtesy, product quality, then by doing nothing about it, you set a new standard - a lower standard.

Take this opportunity to NOT walk past the standards you and your team are setting. Pause a moment. Reflect. Face reality. Make a plan. Lift performance.

There is NOTHING more motivating or rewarding than being a legitimate member of a high standards, winning team. I know. I’m lucky enough to be part of one.


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