Team Development and Training

At the Great Performances Group the ideas of Talent Density and Team Vectors drive our work in team-building, recruiting, and culture, and their role in business success.

Businesses with the highest talent density and highest team vector win. Businesses where the best in the industry want to work, win.

Our ability to recruit and retain talent is impacted by many factors, many of them under our control, many of them not. Two factors largely outside the control of a business’s management team are the marketplace, and cultural/demographic factors.

  1. A labour market where choice is largely on the side of the employee/candidate. This generalized effect is amplified in specific high-knowledge, high-skill industries like technical trades (HVAC, electrical, construction) or medicine, or highly wage-competitive sectors like restaurants and tourism.
  2. The cultural/demographic realities of older employers hiring younger employees, and where many of those younger employees exhibit some of the classic behaviours (often mistakenly) applied to those under 30 years of age (millennial and post-millennial).

Two things are clear:

  1. The need for real talent is steadily growing. This growth is not economy-dependent. That is, employers are wrong when they say this employee’s market is due to a strong economy. The flaw in that is that talent matters even more when the economy is down, and competition fiercer, to the point of ‘last-man-standing’ scenarios.
  2. People’s (not just young people’s) expectations and experience have changed. Without going down that rabbit hole, the point is that ‘business as usual’ when it comes to managing younger employees, is a recipe for failure. For both employees and employers.

Our job in business is to understand the marketplace and react intelligently. The current labour market is no different. Our job at the Great Performances Group is to help you build talent density and a high talent vector value in your organization.

The Great Performances Team Development Approach

We work with our clients to design and then execute three steps in building their teams: recruiting (we call it talent marketing), improving the culture/systems alignment, developing a positive feedback management system.

1. Recruiting As Marketing

You are marketing for talent; talent that has options just as customers do. We review all your recruiting material through the marketing lens. Are you putting as much creative effort into your recruiting as you are into marketing?

We address the Recruiting Mix: Present Benefit, Risk, Future Opportunities, Clarity

  • Present Benefit: what is the immediate and measurable benefit of working for you relative to what others are offering?
  • Risk: how clear are you being about the cost:benefit of working for you? Are you setting reasonable expectations? Do you have answers to questions like “How long will it take for me to start making a meaningful contribution in this organization?
  • Future Opportunities: what is possible if I stick around? What is possible if I take my experience with you and shop it on the market again? Will I grow either way, in my association with you?
  • Clarity: in the posting are you making it clear exactly what is valuable? In your onboarding and training, are is it clear exactly where the boundaries are? What gets me into trouble and what gets me positive recognition and advancement?
  • The ‘Instagramable Job’: You are selling an experience to a community (friends and family), not just the employee. Employees, especially younger ones, want bragging points, legitimacy, confirmation they have made a good decision, and standing in the eyes of their parents and peers. The best jobs provide that. When was the last time one of your employees went home and said, “You won’t believe the cool thing my company did today,” or “I have the best manager, she did XYZ for me today!”?

Right language. Use the language your applicants are looking for. Use the language your applicants speak in.

Right channels (especially word of mouth, extended by social channels). Remember you are marketing. Do you do a lot of marketing on or Then why are you limiting your job postings to those channels?

2. Improving Culture and Systems

Which matters more in a business: healthy culture or good systems?

It’s a trick question. One cannot even exist without the other. In a thriving business, culture and systems support each other.

A successful and sustainable 21st-century business is impossible without great systems and a healthy culture, each is impossible without the other.

Great Systems

Systems supporting a Great Performance in business have five features.

  1. They are consistent across the enterprise.
  2. They are driven by the mission and vision for the business.
  3. They support profitability.
  4. They support sustainability.
  5. They are documented.
  6. They generate and sustain a healthy culture.

Great Cultures

Cultures supporting a Great Performance in business have seven features.

  1. The culture is consistent across the enterprise.
  2. They improve retention.
  3. They encourage discretionary effort.
  4. They support sustainability.
  5. They support profitability without compromising values.
  6. They are documented.
  7. They are the source of innovative, profitable, and sustainable systems.

3. Developing a Positive Feedback Management System

Discretionary effort (doing more than the minimum required to get paid) on the part of our employees is the only behaviour that fuels growth and momentum.

Positive feedback is the only way to get discretionary effort.

To get your team members to exercise discretionary effort takes one thing: positive feedback.

Positive feedback is NOT just a kind word and a slap on the back. Properly understood and used, positive feedback sets the stage for discretionary effort.

Feedback Management is about rewarding desired behaviour, which inspires discretionary effort, which gets results.

Our roadmap for implementing Positive Feedback Management in your organization is simple. Not easy, but simple:

  • Set your destination. We help you frame your objectives; your desired results. These are your compass heading.
  • Create understanding. We work with your management team, and all involved team members, to understand what the desired results are, and what is being measured.
  • Fill capacity gaps. We identify what skills and attitudes are required for success. If not present, we provide recruiting support that aligns with your goals, and/or provide train-the-trainer programs for the same.
  • Provide feedback. When individual team members behave in ways we have identified as getting results, we train your managers on how to provide positive, early, frequent and specific feedback. This will amplify those behaviours and inspire discretionary effort.
  • Review and adjust. No process is perfect out of the gate. We help you create the tools and process for assessments of goals (are they realistic?), resources (do we have them?), and behaviours (are they achieving results?) to maintain alignment and momentum.

The Great Performances Group provides recruiting, training, and management support.

We take a 360, highly integrated approach: initiatives will fail if they don’t consider the connection to everything else in the business. You can have a great recruiting campaign on paper, but if your cash flow, marketing, management, systems, and overall culture don’t line up with your recruiting practices and priorities, that campaign will have poor ROI or even fail.

We make sure every piece of your business works with all of the other pieces.

Download our free eBook It Works Like This to learn more about how to grow a business in this integrated, structured way.

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Doug was a joy to work with, as I pressed the reset button on our business after our main product’s market turned commodity. Though we design custom embedded systems and are challenged to explain what we do (other than “we specialize in the weird”) Doug came up to speed on our markets and talents and capabilities very quickly. He provided valuable guidance both on the process of evaluating business/product ideas (from a selection of over a dozen) to specific recommendations on some of the details of implementing the “go forward plan”. He is extremely bright, yet easy to work with, and communications were crystal clear at all times. We will continue to employ the benefits of his grey-matter in the future.

Brian Empey

Doug’s coaching and mentoring were of great value to my company as we entered and proceeded through an international business competition. With Doug’s help, our company placed in the top ten. Doug’s help was especially important in the final round when we made our pitch to an elite group of investors.

Thanks to Doug’s experience, he had the ability to intuitively understand and analyze our strengths and weaknesses and quickly provide a clear, effective plan of action for us.

Phil Bailey

I began working with Doug in 2016, following a difficult year where we faced many of the regular challenges new start-ups meet. Doug rapidly helped me take a step back from my business and implement simple yet highly valuable tools to clarify our vision, focus and address issues at a steady pace, quarter after quarter. I would recommend other small business owners to work with Doug and implement the EOS tools.

Olivier Lessard