Unlocking High-Performing Teams: Insights from Kevin Herring

In the world of organizational success, building high-performing teams is a never-ending pursuit. Converting workgroups into dynamic teams is a challenge leaders often face. To shine a light on this topic, Brian Gorman chats with Kevin Herring, founder and president of Ascent Management Consulting. They explore leadership, motivation, and the importance of embracing change. This dialogue offers insights into crafting high-performing teams and redefining the path to organizational excellence.

"If somebody else is telling us how to do the work, how to organize the work, how to lay it out, if we're micromanaged to death, there's no ability for us to really apply our expertise to the situation. We're just a pair of hands for somebody, and that's not very fulfilling."

Kevin Herring emphasizes the importance of allowing team members to contribute meaningfully. He talks about intrinsic motivation and its role in fostering engagement and commitment among team members. Kevin's insights suggest that the key to achieving high performance isn't just about compliance; it's about empowering individuals to contribute their expertise and creativity.


Navigating the evolving dynamics of the corporate world, Brian Gorman explores the shifts in leading high-performing teams over the years. Kevin says that while the fundamental principles of engaging people remain consistent, the modern business landscape adds a sense of urgency. The need for quick results has increased, inspiring a renewed focus on leveraging resources efficiently.

"It's about choosing accountability. We want to make sure that people have the ability to experience the ability to choose a higher level of commitment, accountability for the greater organization."

The dialogue shifts to the dilemma – commitment versus compliance. Kevin unveils the transformative power of commitment, saying that genuine dedication emerges when individuals choose accountability willingly. Compliance might achieve short-term results, but the commitment to a shared purpose brings lasting success to the team.


Kevin illustrates the significance of employee involvement in the change process through a captivating story of organizational change that didn’t reach its goal due to a lack of employee action, participation, and communication with end users. The lesson learned: when individuals are active contributors in the change process, they become owners of the transformation, resulting in successful outcomes.

"When people love the work, they love to be there doing it. They find they have meaning, that purpose, they have an internal drive."

Brian taps into the question of the work-life balance, and Kevin accentuates the importance of recognizing that employees are holistic individuals with lives beyond the workplace. It’s important to make that distinction. Kevin cites the example of Apple's return-to-office situation to underline the significance of understanding personal needs and fostering teamwork through offering flexible approaches.


Continuing on a note of empowerment, Kevin introduces a simple practice to enhance team dynamics. This exercise encourages open conversations, allowing team members to learn more about each other's roles, needs, and aspirations. This process can pave the way for improved understanding and better collaboration.


The conversation between Brian Gorman and Kevin Herring paints a picture of what it takes to lead high-performing teams in the modern workplace. By valuing intrinsic motivation, promoting commitment, and embracing change with involvement, organizations can unlock the potential of their teams. As Kevin Herring concludes, the journey to organizational success is shaped by individuals who find meaning, purpose, and fulfillment in what they do.


Listen to the full conversation here.


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