Top tips for tuning teams

Super car representing top tips for tuning high performance teams
Posted on: Monday 17, April 2017
Category: Leadership Development

Lessons for leaders and teams from the Fast and Furious Franchise

I recently watched the eighth 'insanely successful' supercharged film, Fate Of The Furious. The high-octane 'car-chase 'storyline is packed with inspiring examples of leadership and teamwork. This got me thinking about top teamwork in real life.

All cars need servicing from time to time. And older cars need an annual check-up (MOT). But, how often do we do this in our teams?

I don’t know about you but, I love the Fast and Furious films. And The Fate Of The Furious film has only just got off the starting line and has already zoomed down the track into the lead with no 'competition in the rearview mirror.' Already it is the biggest opening weekend in cinema history. It is now predicted to finish past the chequered flag in the top three for 2017. Having just seen it myself I can understand why.

Mark Hughes, a Forbes Magazine contributor recently made this comment, ‘the eighth installment of the insanely popular action-chase franchise has amassed a huge fan base over the past several years.

So, why is this action franchise so popular? 

Well, for many fans it is to do with the displays of great leadership qualities and high performance teamwork driven by both Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson). Their strong characters and an unshakable moral code inspire their teams to get the best out of each other when it counts.

Fans like me love to see the characters work together as a team.  But, in real life, great teams have similar qualities too.

High performing teams:

  • build unwavering loyalty with one another through genuine trust, care and love,
  • are each clear about their responsibilities and are accountable to the team to deliver them,
  • collaborate effortlessly with one another,
  • believe in each other and are there for each other through thick and thin,
  • play to each other's talents, skills and strengths but, know their weaknesses too.

Yes, I know Fast and Furious is only a film cult and pure escapism.  But, along with outlandish storylines, exotic locations and bad-dude villains, ultimately it’s the camaraderie and the dauntless gritty spirit of the team that millions of people have fallen in love with.

Deep down, don’t we all wish to have some of that in each of us?

Don't we all desire to be at our very best in the work we do?

Don’t we all get inspired when we work with other like-minded people and contribute to something bigger than ourselves?

Make a pit-stop for top performance

Pit Stop crew are the epitome of high performing teams

In real life, we may not be pulling off action stunts like the characters in the Fast and Furious films get up to, but we all can be part of gearing up for something special that revs us up and is bigger than ourselves.

That’s exactly what it’s like to be part of a high performing team.

I recently wrote a blog called, ‘High Performing Teams – Fact or Fantasy?’ And many executives, leaders, managers and entrepreneurs commented that such teams are real, not just film fantasy. People who have been part of a high performing team crave for more of those addictive experiences.

But, if the average is good enough for you and your team then an occasional kick of the tyres or check of the oil level is probably all you need to maintain your current state.

But my guess is, people working in teams desire more, they want to be successful - don’t you?

My experience of working with leaders and teams is that they all benefit from regular tune-ups or a pit-stop to make some adjustments and recalibrate to ensure that everything is working together effectively.

Sometimes, high performance cars need to be rebuilt from time to time to keep the wheels turning at full throttle and for the whole car and driver to operate at the highest levels of performance. Business teams need to do similar things too. For example, when they need to shift gears to embark on a new project.

Team tune-ups are about investing in your people and operate on two levels. The team and the individual team members. 

Here are some easy practical examples for your team to consider:

Refresh your Team Charter

It is easy for teams to slip back into old habits or lose sight of shared objectives, values and rules of engagement. 

If you have already developed a team charter then perhaps it is time to re-visit and re-energise the group's commitment to that covenant. 

It may be that the make-up of your team has changed over time. As the team expands or changes, then the new team members need to become part of the team's high performance ethos and its culture.

Perhaps now is the moment to introduce new players to your expectations of mutual trust, openness and empathy.

One-to-one coaching and team workshops

On an individual level, your tune-up may want to focus on people’s personal aspirations and motivations. 

People in high performance teams will want to rev up their skills and capabilities too. They will want to cruise in the fast lane. So, good leadership is about recognising those new strengths and finding effective ways to deploy them within the team. 

You may also need to explore how people cope effectively with inevitable conflict that goes along with high performing teams. It is essential that your managers retain the ability to listen to others, challenge dominant colleagues and subsequently collaborate with those same people to resolve issues.

Driving towards ambitious goals

Your team tune-up or MOT is not only an opportunity to spot the signs of wear and tear that could lead to a breakdown. It is also useful to re-energise the group to operate at the performance levels necessary to achieve your ambitious goals. Mapping new objectives are also vital so you can drive the business toward tomorrow's highways too. You will also need to route around bumps and dead-ends along the road as well.

Unlike racing cars, we aren’t talking about a complex or a time-consuming process. Some simple but effective team workshops and a few individual coaching sessions are probably all it will take - unless there is something toxic going on. 

How do you get your leadership team to shift gears for improved performance

So, if you have to shift up a gear or two towards your destination, finding it hard to overtake a competitor, or hearing strange whining noises from the engine perhaps it’s time to book your team in for a tune up with a skilled team facilitator (see my servies below for example). 

And by the way, if you’re a Fast and Furious fan too, then remember to head off to the cinema to see F8. It's the best of the eight yet!


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My services

Senior management coaching

I am a skilled leadership and team facilitator and development consultant. Please contact me today to discuss how you and your organisation can benefit from developing your team in emotional intelligence development or high performance team programmes. Call 07795 182 860 or email to arrange an informal discussion.

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High Performance Teams Fact or Fantasy - Blog Post

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Text in '...' in the first, third and fourth paragraphs are from [paraphrased] by Mark Hughes, a Forbes Magazine contributor. Article Fate of the Furious, 4th grossing film of 2017

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