A high performing team is a group of people who share a common vision, goals, metrics and who collaborate, challenge, and hold each other accountable to achieve outstanding results. While most people would generally agree with this definition, the Achilles heel in practice is in isolating and over-emphasizing the last part: achieve outstanding results. If we only focus on results and not on how we achieve those results, our efforts might work for now but will not be sustainable.

Why Behaviours Matter

The Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence is awarded by the Shingo Institute, part of the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University. Recipients must meet stringent criteria defined by the Institute that only the very highest performing teams can achieve: “attaining ideal results with ideal behaviours”. Shingo’s emphasis on how an organization goes about meeting its objectives is such that only 20% of the scoring criteria is on actual results; the remaining 80% is on defined behaviours related to Cultural Enablers (e.g., Respect for all People; Leading with Humility), Continuous Improvement (e.g., Focus on Process; Flow and Pull Value); and Enterprise Alignment (e.g., Create Constancy of Purpose; Think Systematically). More information on the Shingo Model is available at https://shingo.org/model/.

In 2019, only four companies received the Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence; in 2018, there were three recipients. So clearly, very few of us are anywhere near the level of the Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence. But we still learn from this framework and apply it in our own pursuit of high performance.

The High-Performance Team Model we use is inspired by the Shingo model. It is behavioural-based and consists of three dimensions:

  1. Accountability for Business Performance
  2. Trust and Collaboration
  3. Continuous Improvement and Commitment to Innovation

While less complex than the Shingo Model, we believe it reflects many of its attributes while at the same time offering a manageable day-to-day approach for teams and organizations of all types and sizes to evaluate their current level of performance and develop and implement plans to improve.

In this content area, we cover:

  • A more in-depth look at each of the three dimensions, and more specifically what they mean in practical terms
  • How to self-evaluate as a team and how to interpret the results
  • Identify a FROM-TO list of contrasting behaviours that would significantly increase the team’s level of performance both over the short- to medium-term (e.g., 6 months) and longer-term (e.g., 12-18 months)
  • Develop practical team-level strategies and tactics to practice the desired behaviours in the FROM->TO plan until they become more habitual and ingrained.

Argyris, C., & Schön, D. A. (1992). Theory in practice: Increasing professional effectiveness. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.


  • One-hour talk
  • Group/team 1/2 day workshop with a two hour follow-up session on: team self-evaluation and determination of FROM-TO behaviours; development and implementation of action plans