Most businesses and endeavours need high performing teams but very few are serious about making that happen. Businesses often talk about team building more than team performance. And team building is often about raft building or getting drunk together, which is most useful if you’re stranded on a desert island with a cargo of beer.

Teams who want to achieve their goals and make the most of their collective talent take a different approach. Just like the Race the World teams (Team Garin and Team Deman) did in preparing for the first leg of the first ever round the world supported team cycling event that kicked off this week. They opted to spend time in getting some simple answers to some straightforward questions rather than building rockets or rafts.

Why are we here?

A key question. Individuals need to know and share their answer, and the team needs to come up with a collective purpose that everyone buys into. It will mean something to all of them and will provide motivation by giving direction and focus. Ask individual members of either Team Garin or Team Deman what theirs is and you’d hear the same answer from each person. Would that happen with your team?

Who’s doing what?

The Race the World teams spent some time discussing and clarifying roles of each person on the team. Everyone will know what they need to do and how it will help the team achieve its purpose. And they’ll know the answers to these questions for the rest of the team too.

What does everyone bring?

Everyone on Team Garin and Deman knows what they bring to the team and what everyone else brings. It will be an individual and collective responsibility to make sure that the team is benefitting from the different talent and strengths that the team has. Team members are able to explain why the team is better off for having them on it rather than anyone else.

Who’s responsible for the performance of the team?

Everyone on the team will know that the answer to this is everyone! The team leader will have a particular role to play but everyone contributes and the team succeeds or fails. This mutual accountability for success will, together with the clear purpose, bind the team together and drive them forward.

4 vital questions. How clear are you and your team on your answers to them? If you’re all not 100% clear, you’re set up to underperform and under deliver against your potential. And if that’s ok with you, crack on. If it’s not, we suggest you do what Team Garin and Team Deman have done, and used the Get Set up for Success and Set your Team up for Success kitbags to get some answers.

Of course, you could always go back to plan A and invest in some beer barrels and start thinking about how you’ll lash them together once you’ve drunk the contents…