Building Great Teams

Why is it that many of the same teams perform well year after year in college basketball’s March Madness? What is the element or secret sauce that all of these teams have in common?

Is it the coach?
Is it the quality of the players?
Is it the mindset of the players?
Is it about having a bold vision that is shared across the team?
Is it a focus on continually improving your game?

Yes, yes, and yes. Great teams have all of the above and more.

Looking through our lens in helping organizations transform, building a great team is essential to making and sustaining great leaps in performance. The leader’s vision and mindset are key, but that vision must be shared with capable team members who can achieve the vision. Even one weak link can throw off the performance of the entire team. We see this a lot and I bet you do too. This is true as you look across a company at function leaders or within a particular function like sales.

In the last couple of years, several clients have experienced tremendous growth in sales but did not have the right Finance or Operations organization in place to get the right information in the right hands to translate it into tremendous profitable growth. The functional leaders of these organizations lacked the skills, the experience, and even the mindset to keep up. No fault of their own – it’s almost as if the organization had outgrown their capabilities. The end result is that instead of being a top performing company from a profitability perspective, these companies are in the middle of the pack. The good news is we also have seen profitability improve significantly as the capabilities and mindsets grow even for just one leader.

So, if you lead a business where you have a cross-functional team or if you lead a sales or marketing team, take stock of the key elements of high performing teams below and see how your team stacks up. Any one of these elements can impact your performance:

  • Strong Leader and the Right Talent (right people in the right seats on the bus)
  • Bold Vision and Clear about What Success Looks like
  • Play as a Team not as Individuals
  • Team Stacked with People Who Have a Growth Mindset and Shared Vision
  • Continually Improving and Not Standing Still (an anxiousness about mediocrity)
  • Trust and Solidarity through Open Communication (leadership drives this)
  • Consistent Coaching and Mentoring to Elevate Team’s Performance
  • Culture of Transparency and Accountability

Final thought: There is usually a team that comes in and surprises the old guard. In our mind, this is a reminder that we can all build high performance teams. Yes, you can do this – look up!

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