When it comes to building a high-performing team, there are two prevalent camps of thought. One believes the secret lies in hiring qualified people, offering competitive compensation, career development opportunities, and a slew of “free” perks like vacation days, ping-pong tables, work-from-home options, and free snacks. However, this approach often leads to a sense of entitlement rather than true engagement and performance.

The key to genuine high performance lies in a very different environment. It starts with a crystal-clear purpose and strategy for the business. Each team member must have a defined role that aligns with their intrinsic motivations, skills, and style. Total compensation should feel fair and equitable, and individuals need a high degree of autonomy over how they achieve their work.

The real kicker? The design of the system itself determines how people show up and perform. A well-designed organization attracts the right talent who thrive in that environment and naturally weeds out those who don’t fit. You don’t need free food and ping-pong tables to motivate people. Instead, create a workplace where talented individuals are excited to bring their best selves to the table.

Great companies don’t mimic others; they create unique environments that demand high performance. The right people will be drawn to such an environment, while the wrong ones will opt out. Focus on what truly matters: clear purpose, aligned roles, healthy compensation, and autonomy. This is the formula for building a high-performing team.