Hands together to build a high performance team

Building High Performance Teams

Jul 13, 2021Editorial Team

Here at Totem, we spend our time thinking about what makes people tick. Bringing out the best in each other. How to make families, friends, teammates and colleagues work well together. Our relationship building tools and activities are centred around principles of psychology and personal development, building on the wealth of knowledge, lifelong interest and passion of our founding team Jade Tremblay, Tessa Paradis and Carol Rancourt. In this post, we want to share with you our advice and perspective on building a high performing team.

The Totem Formula for High Performing Teams


The first step to building a high performance team is having a clear common goal, shared values and a vision to work towards. This means team members having a complete picture of the workplace, understanding the company’s entire processes, where they fit in and what part they play. Individual team members need to know what is expected of them.

Can you sum up the vision of your organization right now, on the spot? Can your employees? Has your vision changed lately?

Company vision should be revisited and reassessed from time to time, to keep up with the ever changing dynamics of modern workplaces today. 

Let us help you outline this and more in our "Feel Good" Corporate Team Building activity!


Leading high performance teams can be challenging, above all when they are virtual teams. Those in leadership roles should be talented coaches and mentors. A team leader should communicate company vision, setting team goals and providing guidance and mentorship for team members to set their own goals. Giving team members the autonomy to set their own goals and make them happen sets off a chain reaction. This sense of achievement gives them pride and ownership over their work, meaning they are more engaged and motivated. The autonomy to make good decisions furthers these feelings of accomplishment and boosts self confidence. This strengthens their accountability and sense of belonging. This pride in their work means you can count on individuals to quality check their work independently. Their sense of belonging and mutual accountability means they will deliver quality work on time to their colleagues and team mates. A leader should promote independence and autonomy above all else, as well as acting as a sounding board for new ideas to stimulate reflection, self evaluation and ultimately improvement to overall team performance. The impact that having a clear goal can have is incredible. It takes no time at all to define and voice a goal to your team, make this your first step towards an effective team and shared purpose. Team effectiveness can be difficult to measure. People use all sorts of performance indicators but we think it's much simpler than that, in a cohesive team employee engagement is obvious. Team members are excited to come to work. They have genuine connections with their co-workers. These authentic relationships are the real key to collaboration and team success at work. Communication is the key. Communication and being your best self, your most authentic self. The feeling that you're on the right path at your organization, doing what you were put here on this planet to do.

Management is changing. Hierarchical structures are becoming outdated in today’s so called information age. With frequent company and role changes it’s no longer a case of patiently waiting your turn to move up the ladder. Ensure managers are accepting of this fluid working environment, understanding their role of supporting and guiding team members to reach their potential and be successful at work. This means finding their own unique area of genius and being their best and most authentic selves - the only way for us to truly thrive. 


The leader should strive to build an autonomy supportive environment. With their clear understanding of company vision and processes, teams should move towards becoming self reliant and able to make their own decisions. This form of decentralised decision making boosts efficiency and productivity levels tenfold, eliminating the team meetings, back and forth and red tape. Knowing their purpose allows team members to self organise, without the usual miscommunication and delays to the timeline involved in team development.

For a successful team it's about striking a balance between performance and well being. You can lay the foundations with clear vision and great leadership however you still need to establish an autonomy supportive environment to get the right team dynamics.

In an autonomy supportive organisation, a team culture of mutual respect allows team members to put forward and try out new, sometimes wacky ideas without fear of failure or criticism. The open communication of this organizational culture fosters collaboration and new ideas. Another great way to give average teams or a low performing team a boost is by switching things up and encouraging team members to spend some time collaborating with a different colleague or working in another department. They can then feed back their new ideas or what they've learnt to their regular team. This method of working has been championed by innovative companies such as Google, and is said to be from where many of their most original ideas originate. 

Team Building

At Totem, we believe teamwork is essential for producing good work. Research shows that agile, multi disciplinary teams are most effective at work. It’s no longer about keeping people in separate departments working with like minded individuals with similar backgrounds to them. This allows for collaboration among team members with complementary skills, and less reliance on a senior leader, leadership team or other colleagues outside of the team to reach their shared goal. A simple team building activity is often the making of a great team, highlighting exactly what makes them so great together. What they like most about each other, the skills and qualities they most appreciate - take some time to recognise each other's strengths and reaffirm the team's purpose. We guarantee that investing in team building will pay off. Dedicating time and energy to taking care of your team will boost performance, well being and mutual trust.

Here at Totem, we provide customised team building solutions to suit you and your team. Whether you want to take the reins or have us take care of everything, together we design the team building event that works for you. First things first, we outline your goal and the logistics of the event. All you need to do is choose between our Self-Serve and Premium format

Relationship Building

Our flagship product, Totem the “Feel Good” game, is a unique relationship building tool gamifying psychology and personal development techniques. Many of those who complete our Corporate Team Building go on to purchase our flagship card game to share Totem with their friends and family. It makes a great gift. The game is suitable for so many different settings and all age groups, play at work with your boss or with some friends on movie night! Teens and children can join in the fun too, and don’t forget Totem Couple’s Edition for a deeper connection bringing back the spark to your love life. 

Keeping the Spirit Alive 

So, you’ve completed your Totem “Feel Good” Team Building and seen the Totem Effect for yourself. Now, how to keep the spirit of Totem alive? It’s easy - just think, PIF! Totem’s very own Positive Impactful Feedback Method is a simple and effective solution that you can put into practice immediately, for instant results. For a quick refresher on PIF, check out our post, ‘One Feedback Method To Rule Them All’.

PIF method infographic

If you want your very own slice of Totem at home or the office, you can start by getting your paws on a copy of our flagship product, the “Feel Good” game, or you can check out our Totem merchandise. A souvenir of your event or even the perfect birthday, secret santa or retirement gift. Team members will appreciate the memento and it will keep all you learned about each other with Totem at the forefront of everyone’s minds. 


Discover your own best self and bring out the best in your team, with everyone operating in their own unique area of genius and skill. We’ve been on this journey for several years now, selling over 100,000 copies of our “Feel Good” card game and delivering our team building activity to companies of all kinds.  

Bringing out the best in people, it’s our mission and it’s what we do best, here at Totem.

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