Whenever I need a reminder or a refresher course on refining and improving my business skill sets, I turn to one of the true gurus of the self-help industry, Brian Tracy. The author of dozens of books, Tracy has an answer for just about any management or motivational-related question I have.

His latest book, “Full Engagement: Inspire, Motivate, and Bring Out the Best in Your People,” is chockfull of great management advice. One section that was of particular interest to me deals with the concept of “peak performance.”

Tracy researched large and small companies for years to identify his “five keys to peak performance.” As he writes, “they are simple and easy to apply, and should be part of your vision for your ideal business or motivational environment.” After reading the chapter, I’m ready to put them to use, but first I want to share them with you:

1) Shared goals and objectives. According to Tracy, everyone in your group “needs to know exactly why the company or department exists, what it is trying to accomplish, its most important goals and objectives and its reason for existence.” In other words, the more people know, the more ownership they’ll take and the more opportunity they have to better understand their role, how they can improve themselves and help the company grow.

2) Shared values. “Everyone on the team should be clear about the basic principles or values that determine how team members interact and relate with each other.” Every company has values, but are they explicit? Are they written down? Does everyone know where to find them and do they understand them? It’s best to get everyone on the same page upfront.

3) Shared plans of action. “It is important, for maximum performance, that everyone knows what everyone else on the team is supposed to be doing, and in what order of priority, and on what schedule.” This particular key reminds me of team sports. If you’ve ever played a team sport you know what I’m talking about: The coach develops a game plan, each player is assigned a role, and yet, the best teams seem to have those players that know what everyone else is expected to do as well.

4) Leadership for the team. “Your job as a manager, from this point on, is to help your team to fulfill their responsibilities. Rather than being an ‘orchestra director’ or ‘sergeant major,’ your job is to be a ‘blocker.’ Your job is to make sure that people have the resources they need and to remove
the obstacles that stand in their way from accomplishing their tasks in the very best way possible.”

5) Continuous evaluation and appraisal. “You should continually be asking the question, ‘How are we doing?’ How is the business doing in terms of the people who use your services or consume the results that you produce?” It’s important as you build your business to be “continually getting feedback and making course corrections.” That’s how you’ll reach your peak.