80's Music and High Performing Teams? Yes, There's a Connection!

80's Music and High Performing Teams? Yes, There's a Connection!

Consider new teams you have joined recently or ones you might like to try in the future...music bands, sports teams, school and church groups, military troops and units, business teams, organizations and companies. With the rapid movement of migrating work and people to at-home or remote situations, many of us are experiencing a new type of team environment altogether. Having been a member of hundreds of teams, there are common team characteristics that fuel high performance and a better work culture.

We all want our teams to be successful. This creates proud employees that can lead to low company turnover and higher employee satisfaction. So how do we create ‘High Performing Teams’? This myPerspective post provides some insight with help from my favorite 80's hits. 

This proactive team building approach requires commitment and repetition. You can’t be Too Shy* with this. The concepts, steps, and terminology should be repeated like the chorus of Mickey*…in weekly leadership, one-to-one, and staff meetings, discussed in every day verbal and written communications, posted on walls and bulletin boards, emphasized in staff recognition programs, ‘woven’ into team and staff goals and annual reviews, with leaders, staff, contractors, and vendors. Encourage and inspire creativity around this and You Can Do Magic* with your team! So where do you start?

PURPOSE! Consider this the foundation for everything else. Ask questions like, Why form the team? Has the team purpose changed or evolved? What is the team name? Do we have a ‘slogan’? What is the vision of the team? Does this align with other teams, parent organizations, etc.? Answer these critical questions WITH the team’s involvement to drive team member engagement, motivation, commitment and productivity! Keep it Fresh* and create a team symbol or icon. Develop a mission statement. Define the team scope, products, or functions. Don’t skip this step!

TEAM STRUCTURE! Who’s on first? What’s on second? What resources do we need? How do we align the team members to accomplish the scope, and are there any gaps? Who will focus on projects, day-to-day operations, and ongoing support? How can we support each other in virtual work environments? Be sure to leverage the team’s creativity for these. Plan for today and future needs of the team to get to a This is It!* realization from the group.

STRATEGY/GOALS/PROJECTS! What is the 2-3 year strategic plan? Consider the following: People, Process, Information, and Technology/Tools. Then, once a 2 to 3 year plan is in place, what does the first year look like? Define 3-5 goals for year one. Be sure to include key performance indicators (KPIs) or metrics so you are able to measure your success. What initiatives or projects are required to accomplish these goals? Define the purpose and specific outcomes of these. What is required for day-to-day operations and ongoing support? Align these goals with your purpose AND Pour Some Sugar On...* your team to inspire innovation!

COMMUNICATION and DEVELOPMENT! How will we communicate to leaders and each other? Are there standard processes for 3rd parties, vendors, consultants, clients, customers? How will we conduct effective meetings? What tools will we use? How will we develop our staff, learn new skills, grow? Don’t Stop Believin'*!’ Keep your team engaged with this and your team will be Thunderstruck* with excitement!

EXECUTE! Now with a ‘Totally Awesome’ Purpose, a Hit Me With Your Best Shot* Team Structure, Walk This Way* Strategy/Goals/Projects, and a People are People* Communication and Development plan, go and build your team to perform at the highest level possible. And remember to offer kudos, words of encouragement and accolades along the way. Reward individuals and your team as milestones are met or problems are solved, big and small. 

When customers are wowed and goals are met, engaged teams are winning! Celebrate each other’s differences and strengths that make up your unique team. 

Thanks for reading. Please share your ideas, thoughts, and examples in the comments, and follow me on social media for more leadership topics through my blog series, myPerspective.


  1. Kajagoogoo. "Too Shy." 1983.
  2. Tony Basil. "Mickey." 1982.
  3. America. "You Can Do Magic." 1982.
  4. Kenny Loggins. "This Is It." 1979. (close enough)
  5. Kool & the Gang. "Fresh." 1985.
  6. Def Leppard. "Pour Some Sugar On Me." 1987.
  7. Journey. "Don’t Stop Believin." 1981.
  8. AC/DC. "Thunderstruck." 1990. (close enough)
  9. Pat Benatar. "Hit Me With Your Best Shot." 1980.
  10. Run DMC. "Walk This Way." 1986. (Aerosmith, 1975-original)
  11. Depeche Mode. "People are People." 1984.