building a team…..

brazilSome of you sports inclined people must be following European soccer and the fortunes of the famous clubs. Love watching a Real Madrid game – a collection of huge stars, each member extremely skilled and of supreme individual brilliance. Just that their accomplishments over the past few years as a club have always fallen short leaving a lot to be desired. A group of players or a team, I wonder!

I am sure you can relate to this great dilemma of the corporate world. Does cobbling together a coalition of a bunch of extremely talented, intelligent  professionals of  outstanding calibre guarantee results? Since a group’s ultimate success often depends upon its balance, the key is how to find people who will ensure the furthering of the interest of the team, not just their own.

Though in most situations a leader inherits a team, they still need to find the right people. Now that is a tough job and I have often discovered the differentiator here to be attitude. An open mind and a willingness to contribute, to be a part of the team and support the success of the larger cause. Skills and capabilities are the baseline and the other competencies – if you can call then as such – determine the choice.

Since the objective is to get the right people, recruiting Who is more important than recruiting for What. Members joining for what they have to do instead of who – the team – they are joining will find themselves misplaced in a fast changing world. That compromises adaptability.  The right people will be self motivated by inner drive to produce consistently great results.  The sequence is right people on the bus, wrong people off it and the right people in the right seats. Then the direction that the team determines will be correct and they will produce great results. An all time favourite book of mine – Good To Great of Jim Collins – has dealth with this aspect.

Just a few other requirements – each person needs to be given a valued role (simply because every job is important), treat everyone with tremendous respect and allow for differences in style to flourish. Debate within a team is refreshing and leads to optimising decisions, but ensure total alignment once the decision has been taken and no discussion or debate thereafter. I am obviously assuming adequacy of trust, commitment and communication.

This is surely a far more complex topic. And a very common one – since all of us are required to go through this process a few times in our long careers. There are many other dysfunctions of a team and I am ignoring those for the moment. Your views will be most helpful here.

By the way, please cheer for my favourite team at the world cup 2010!!

happy teaming!


4 thoughts on “building a team…..

  1. With my experiences, I can say that for every member of the team there should be a backup, and this backup should be prepared in a way, that it forms a circle, so on a given day anyone can help and take the charge of things, in the absence of other.

  2. Almost every critical aspect has been touched in this post, still I am tempted to reinforce a particular statement mentioned above “the key is how to find people who will ensure the furthering of the interest of the team, not just their own “by quoting David Breashears at Wharton’s 10th annual leadership conference. David Breashears, fimmaker and mountaineer recounted how he and his team survived one of the deadliest accidents in the history of Mt Everest. Having reached the summit of Mt Everest five times, Breashears knows what to look for in a team.He says ” I look for talented people who believe in their craft,not those who are looking for praise. The most important quality is selflessness. Further he states “Sharing a common goal and vision is critical, and no one’s ego can take precedence. People who say ‘me first’ can be dangerous on Everest. Another pertinent point, how important it is to get our leadership and teaming thoughts validated at times from speakers in completely different fields.

  3. This is a great article. Would like to add a few quotes on selecting great teams:

    I play not my eleven best, but my best eleven.
    – Knute Rockne, American Football Coach
    Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.
    – Stephen Covey, Management Guru
    None of us is as smart as all of us
    – Japanese Proverb

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