Team

How to Build an All Star Team

Have you ever wondered what differentiates a winning team from a team that has great potential but never quite makes it?

In sport this is often quite clear. Consider the team of all stars, full of talent, who don’t play together as a cohesive team and are beaten by a team of less talented players who pull together and produce a performance above their perceived skill level. Take a moment and I’m sure you will come up with many examples from Rugby, Football, Cricket etc …

It’s the difference between an All Star Team and a Team of All Stars. The members of an All Star Team work for each other to achieve a common goal, subjugating their own egos to achieve the team goal, whereas, a Team of All Stars play as individuals for their own goals and aim to massage their own egos.

As a business develops through the levels (see separate article) from a micro enterprise (up to 10 employees) to a small business (up to 50 employees) the pressure to succeed and grow can create a Team of All Stars. Often a talented individual (the business owner) works hard and excels in many roles. However, as the business starts to transition to a medium sized business (50 employees plus) the pressure on the talented individual becomes too much. To truly unlock the potential of the business, the future must be based on building an All Star Team that work together.

There are many things that differentiate an All Star Team from a Team of All Stars.

In this first of a series on building an All Star Team we will look at two of the main foundations that differentiates an All Star Team from a Team of All Stars

  • A strong leader that enrolls and inspires their team to achieve a common vision.

The leader has a clear vision and attracts talented individuals who want to help them on their journey. Each team member may have a different compelling reason (their why) for wanting to help and they are prepared to emotionally commit to the team success.

All Star Teams work tirelessly towards achieving the team goals. They truly commit to the outcome and are prepared to be held accountable for achieving results and being responsible for their actions.

All Star Team members continuously develop themselves and others. They attract the best talent that is available at the organisation’s salary levels.

All Star Team members are prepared to give and receive open and honest feedback.

An All Star Team must be underpinned by common values that build trust between all the team members.

Interestingly, we assume that our definition of a word, especially a well-used word like Trust is the same for everyone.

But what’s our basis of Trust?

How do we know that we trust someone?

Let me explain, we all have our own rules about how we view our world and we put all our interaction with people through this ‘rule filter’ to get our perception of reality. We assume that when we are talking about trust to others we are all viewing it through the same rule filter. But is the case?

As our rules are built up by a combination of our past experiences, family and societies influences, to name but a few, so is it any wonder that we find it so difficult to define a simple word like trust that everyone can agree with.

We find everyone is coming from a different starting place, a different set of values.

In the business world, this can have massive repercussions.

Imagine being in a situation where the success of a project is dependent on team members doing what their said they we going to do but you just know that some never deliver.

You just don’t trust them.

What’s going to happen to that project?

So an All Star Teams have common values. These are clearly defined and written down, they are not assumed. The values underpin every action and decision. Issues are openly discussed and resolved to strengthen the team.

Team members are recruited on values first and skills second. Skills can be developed but if the values are not aligned then trust will be quickly undermined and an All Star Team will be transformed into a Team of All Stars.

The successful transition from a Team of All Stars to an All Star Team is one of the hardest steps in business. In deed many of the team may be loyal employees who have been with the company from day one.

Unfortunately, it also maybe these individuals that are not aligned to the company future and are holding the company back.

Often loyalty is also a core value of the business and therefore the creation of an All Star Team in these circumstances can lead to a conflict of values.

This in turn stifles open and honest communication. The door is open for the ‘Pink Elephant’ (see article)

I will discuss conflict of values and the results impact on results in a future article.

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