Enabler or Barrier? Build High Performance by Cultivating FASTIR

Company leaders, do you want to retain high performers during the “Great Resignation” and nurture success? Intentionally cultivate the below enablers of organizational, brand, and team member performance. Acknowledge barriers, name them, and address them. And definitely do not create them.

Job seekers, ask hiring managers about these performance enablers when you are interviewing, and what company leadership actively does to eliminate performance obstacles for teams.

To retain and grow high performers – and nurture a high-performing organization – I have identified the below “FASTIR(tm)” enablers – Focus, Agility, Solid operational foundation, Trust, Integrity, Resources – from my 30+ years of experience working with companies and agencies across many industries and roles, from first step to blue chip and garage to global.

Focus – Company leaders, don’t try to boil the ocean. A Fortune editor once told me in a meeting with a highly successful serial entrepreneur and incubator founder, “Execution is everything. And for execution, you need focus.” Companies that try to do too much at the same time confuse their audiences and make flawless execution difficult for their employees. Team members that are overwhelmed are frustrated and not effective. Loyalty suffers. Quality suffers. Your brand suffers. Focus, relentlessly and with rigor. Your five year plan should not have 30 elements. It should have three. Max. (Consultants, please take note. I was recently in a consultant-facilitated session that lacked… expert facilitation, and was tackling far too many “priorities.”) Don’t try to be everything to everyone. You weaken your brand, your focus, and potentially your performance in the process.

Focus, relentlessly and with rigor.

Agility – You have high performers that consistently deliver? Grease the skids and make it even easier for them to deliver and thrive. Don’t throw up barriers and burden processes with extra steps, while still expecting exceptional results. Consensus leadership is not leadership – it’s group think and it slows everything down. Being late or missing an opportunity is not leadership, it’s laggardship. Create processes and breadth to support speed-to-success. You see exceptional ability in your organization? Nurture exceptional agility.

Being late or missing an opportunity is not leadership, it’s laggardship.

Solid operational foundation – “Treat the cause, not the effect.” Everything suffers when the operational foundation is not reliable, and – too often – functions and teams deep in the enterprise bear the brunt of the operational faults. Dr. House from the early 2000s TV series always worked to get to the root of a patient’s illness, not just treat the symptoms. This sleuthing and intense focus on the source is what often cured the imaginary patients. Business leaders should take the same approach. Don’t play the blame and bandaid game; take ownership for operational inefficiencies and fix them at the source.

Don’t play the blame and bandaid game.

Trust – Years ago, I read “The Wisdom of Teams: Creating the High-Performance Organization.” It covered how division of responsibility based on experience, skills, and interest drives performance. Allocation of workstreams and accountability requires trust. The highest performing organizations understand that the CEO cannot be involved in every decision – especially the tactical ones. That shows everything down. Businesses hire experts to do a specific job. Many go through multi-step, protracted interview processes and require relevant experience. Equip and trust them to get the job done. With high performers, trust engenders retention and results. If they perform, reward, empower, and enable them to do more.

…trust engenders retention and results.

Integrity – Brené Brown says that integrity is “choosing courage over comfort… choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.” Define – and test – your company’s values. Do they hold up under pressure? Do they serve your mission and audiences? Are they authentic and relevant? And integrity extends to policies and calls to action… and simply doing the right thing. If you ask your team members or customers to do something, you are expected to model that behavior, consistently, authentically, and relentlessly. You don’t get a pass because you are a leader or executive. Someone will eventually hold you accountable – customers, partners, community, lawyers, or team members – so walk the talk, no exceptions.

Walk the talk, no exceptions.

Resources – Want sustained results? Reward and equip high performers with more resources in order to deliver exceptional results with stamina. The right resources at the right time can help drive results. If you have high performers that ask for resources, do whatever you can to support them. One company I worked for didn’t provide desperately needed team support or growth opportunities requested eight months prior, and lost the entire team, despite record-breaking results. Providing resources for high performers says “I see the great work you do and know that you can do more with the right support.” Bam! Retention, growth, recognition, and the possibility of enhanced performance for the company, all-in-one.

The right resources at the right time can help drive results. 

High performance doesn’t happen by accident. Intentional leadership with attention to the above “FASTIR” performance enablers – or barriers – can make a material difference for business brands and bottom lines.

*FASTIR performance enablers is a protected trademark of Trish Nicolas LLC. All references must be attributed and appropriately linked or tagged.

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