7 Elements for Building High-Performance Teams

It Feels Most Natural, But Is Hard to Achieve

Uwe Weinreich
14 min readOct 25


Friendly team members discussing a topic
Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash

The team is one of the highest valued assets of a startup. And it can also be a source of dispute, trouble, and inefficiency. How can founders provide an environment that enables teams to develop a state of high performance, cohesion and personal satisfaction?

I have spent a good part of my business life on this question. One incident changed my view.

Are We Made for Catastrophes?

Hurricane Katrina, the earthquake in Turkey, the floods in Greece and so many more. Natural disasters change the lives of people in the affected areas, sometimes within seconds. People react to them in typical ways: In addition to grief and panic, the situation is characterized by a lot of mutual help, cohesion and tireless effort.

Not all disasters happen within a few seconds or minutes. Some develop slowly, providing the opportunity to observe in detail what is happening. And they are not always quite so devastating.

The flood of the Oder River in 2002 was one such incident. After enormous rainfall, the level of the river rose for several days. The sewage treatment plant of the city of Dresden is located on the banks of the river. If the water rose as much as predicted, it would be flooded, and the entire plant would not only fail but also be severely damaged.

Faced with this situation, the management team of the operator “Stadtentwässerung Dresden” called on the workforce to help. Many people came, regardless of their profession, position, role, or responsibility. All worked together and piled up sandbags.

Unfortunately, they did not succeed. On August 16, 2002, the plant was flooded. Dresden was left without wastewater treatment for years.

Flooded Dresden sewage treatment plant
Flooded Dresden sewage treatment plant by Stadtentwässerung Dresden

I had the chance to speak with some of the people in charge shortly after the incident. They reported that it was one of the most impressive situations they had ever experienced.



Uwe Weinreich

Uwe works as coach, author and consultant focusing on agile innovation and digital transformation. What he does is simple: he solves problems.