Have you ever seen a team that just seems to be unstoppable? Maybe they are an athletic team like the 1992 USA Men’s Basketball team, one of the greatest of all time. In your vendor world it may be a team that seems to hit every product launch, stretch goal or line review.
“The harder you work, the luckier you get.”
Building a high-performance team starts with intention, understanding, and principles. Intention to focus on the longer-term team. Understanding of what success really looks like and how to achieve success in whatever model you work within. Then setting principles you will hold to as you go down this journey towards building a high-performing team. Once a high-performing team starts making eight or nine half court shots out of ten, then they become your dream team.
It is a natural temptation to think Dream Teams you have seen were just always in the right place at the right time. But Dream Teams can actually make luck by putting your company in more right places at more right times.
Success cannot come from you alone, but from a group of individuals performing at their best in concert together. Budget professional and personal time towards building your team. If you want to fight fires and ignore building the long-term team, then you will be very pleased to find that those fires will never stop. The long term success of your company is most impacted by its talent and how it is used. So as you set aside a good amount of time to invest into team building, know it’s the absolute best investment you will make.
I have had a few “Dream Teams” over the years in different functions and geographies. They each took at least a year of obsession to build, but in the end, the personal and professional satisfactions were unbeatable. Here are the success principles I discovered for building the elusive “Dream Team”:
- Obsess on talent
- Talent Type: What types of professionals do you need in each role for success? Do you need deep experience? Are you ok with less experience but high-potential filling certain roles? Does this require internal or external talent infusion? Etc…
- Talent Density: What level of talent do you need to hit your ambitions?
- Recruiting: Clearly using this map makes recruiting cheaper, quicker and more successful.
- Team chemistry isn’t a random occurrence
- Multi-dimensional diversity: Personality type, gender, business experience, strengths and life experience such as traveling/moving all play into diversity of thought. Try to find a good balance to have the greatest cumulative team experience and knowledge.
- Focus on the goal: The goal is not to build a team of friends. Nor is it to build a team of very good individuals. Build a team that communicates well, respects each other and becomes a sum greater than its parts.
- Get the most out of the talent you have
- Vision: Get a vision or cause for the team to work toward together. Getting people passionate about what you are doing works better than money or pressure.
- Individuals: It is a diverse team of individuals, so ensure you don’t take a one size fits all approach on coaching, rewarding and communicating.
- Personal commitment from you
- Resist temptation: Do not give in to pressure or crisis. If you are working overtime to cover an empty position, do not settle on talent just to fill it. Wait it out. Do not disrupt principles for short term goals.
- Agility: Don’t rest once you get the team. The thing about “Dream Teams”, they are a moment in time and can fade quickly with turnover or new market conditions. Always think about how you reload next year instead of rebuild.
Go look up the 2004 USA Men’s Olympic Basketball team. They had huge talent like other teams the USA had fielded, but that team came up drastically short. They did not sum up to greater than individual parts. Get the right people. Do not settle on talent. Get them inspired and bring out their individual bests. You then will get professional and personal satisfaction like you’ve never had before.
* General Manager – UpSpring US (a subsidiary of Reckitt Benckiser)
* Title and company of the author reflect their position at the time article was written.
The opinions expressed here by guest bloggers are their own, not necessarily those of Stout Executive Search.