Accelerating High Performance



I partnered with a Fortune 100 company whose intent was to create happier customers. Our goal: to improve communication by reducing delays in response time. The client agreed to engage the project team with the customer to accelerate real life application of learning in the real world.

Intervention was short and sweet. No theory, only practice (smart people learn quickly from experience). I selected a rock climbing gym as our field of operation. Round one involved each team of three individually taking turns at being responsible for communication, safety, and climbing. Round two involved the climber climbing blindfolded while depending entirely on another team member to communicate the exact location of hand- and footholds enabling progress. Round three combined prior strategic thinking, communication, and teamwork, in a race against time.

Teams demonstrated immediate improvement in thinking strategically, focusing sharply, and acting quickly. Members self-corrected in real time. I never mentioned the importance of trust, commitment, responsibility, or focus on results. Truth was self-evident: failure to perform resulted in falling or letting someone “hang” until lowered to safety. No one wanted to be that person or contribute to that situation. During the post-mortem, client and customer continued sharing mutual lessons learnt forging greater trust strengthening their relationship.

To accelerate high performance with your team:

  • Name the Game. Players must be excited to win or they’ll sabotage the game.
  • Select Key Players. Well-defined roles determine expected behaviors, and responsibilities.
  • Safeguard the Trust. Maximize awareness and commit your utmost to protect mutual trust.
  • Less is More. Rapid, short, and simplified communication reduces noise in the system and builds momentum.
  • Celebrate Wins. Find and amplify successes to build a culture of winning.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email