The SEG 
Nonprofit Blog

Creating a High Performing Team that Wants to Stay Together

By Tim Deuitch  |  November 29, 2018

Creating a High Performing Team that Wants to Stay Together

Is keeping a team together the newest top competency in these times? We think so.

An excerpt from The #1 Challenge Facing Leaders Today, "... get the talent. Get the people who can get the job done. You will save yourself endless time and grief if you get the talent.”

But that’s not all. You must hold on to this talent when others come for them! After years of working with non-profits, one observation is crystal clear to me. Most top non-profits have CEO’s and leadership teams that have worked together for years. This is no accident and the SEG team has been thinking about this for some time. Why do they stay together when they can leave for new opportunities?

I’ll bet you describe your favorite non-profit leader and their leadership team as smart, inspiring, innovative thinkers and you’ve likely wanted to work for them or hire them away. These teams often form from an inspiring leader, who attracts good people, and their performance can be strong, but lasting teams bring more consistent outputs:

  • Objectives regularly achieved and known
  • Resilience in challenging times
  • Inspired engagement of strong volunteers
  • Financial and operational efficiency – the cost of vacancies is minimal

Continuity is not the norm today. Why? Because top leaders view the above successes as the end-state pursuit vs. the outputs of a committed team. This feels like a chicken and egg dynamic but it’s not. A ‘high-performance culture’ lacks the ability to keep talent if the culture lacks character, integrity, and commitment. Retaining talent is a commitment. At SEG, we know leaders that build lasting and high-performing teams are intentionally operating with a balance of Form (skill) and Essence (character). What do we mean by Form and Essence?

  • Form: Your skills – what you do – delegate, communicate, coach, problem solve.
  • Essence: Your character – who you are - your sense of purpose and beliefs that create or undermine your desired culture. Essence is often seen as innate, yet it can be intentionally unlocked and demonstrated, and it must be in order to retain talent.

What happens when one is lacking?
If Form is low and Essence high: High performers leave for a less frustrating day-to-day experience.
If Form is high and Essence low: High performers leave for a better culture and leader example.

I love this list of Super-effective Motivators from Peter Economy, The Leadership Guy.

Retention is possible by achieving each of these steps – not just improving one or two - but it takes leadership commitment. If these concepts strike a chord with you, and if retention issues disrupt your ability to grow, SEG can show you how to build skills and character.

Please contact me at:
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Call Me: (651) 492-2345


Tim Deuitch

Senior Performance Consultant

Tim brings over 25 years of experience working closely with business leaders throughout the Twin Cities and the USA. He has worked within a multitude of workplace cultures and economic cycles, helping leaders and teams improve their effectiveness and results. Since joining SEG in 2007, Tim has continued his work as a change agent, helping organizations meet their goals. Tim graduated from Warren Wilson College in 1983 with a B.S. degree in social work.

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