We’ve all been part of teams in one form or another. You’ve probably had “team” experiences since you were very young, whether on a sports-field, the debate team , with a Girl or Boy Scout troupe, or with some volunteer organization. You most likely enjoyed study or project groups in college. In your professional life, you quickly learned that despite your best solo efforts to change the world-or at least your industry-doing the best job and building a successful business meant surrounding yourself with the best individuals.
You might consider it a given that as a business owner or entrepreneur you want to surround yourself with the ideal team. On the other hand, you may be a solo entrepreneur who considers your helpers-accountant, webmaster, etc.-to be merely a part of the peripheral landscape. Either way, intentionally communicating your purpose, aligning your team around it, and communicating your expectations and your passion, can help you attract the people who want to go there with you. Before you can do that, though, you have be able to define what makes not just a team but a Super Star Team.
First of all, a group is not necessarily a team, especially in today’s virtual world, where people with varied skills are dispersed and may be asked to collaborate from around the globe. Second, teams rarely come together simply for the sake of being a team; they come together united for a common purpose one built on shared objectives. Super Star teams are comprised of incredibly bright and talented people who already have individual track records of success. They come together with their collective talents to achieve new, fresh and exciting things to achieve Super Star objectives. The team creates a competitive advantage and works together to achieve superior levels of performance.
Before you conclude that this team building process sounds like a walk in the park with everyone stepping in sync, think again. By its very nature, the dynamics of working with a group of brilliant, talented, focused people will stretch every member and require them to tread on uncharted territory. But what an exciting trek! In such an environment, the work remains challenging and new.
How do you build a Super Star Team? Ask yourself these questions:
1. Who is on your team?
It is important to realize and appreciate that beyond the people you hire and the partners with whom you interact-people who are actively engaged in maintaining and growing your business on a daily basis-your team is really anyone who is supportive of your accomplishments. Don’t overlook the sphere of influence that your family and friends are part of. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to monitor who provides positive support and who extends negative expectations. Surround yourself with people who know you are shooting for the moon and who wholeheartedly support and reflect your core values.
2. Where are you going and does your team know the itinerary?
You probably realize the importance of keeping your employees and your executive team up to speed on your vision. But what about your family, friends, or the other people whose influence you feel most in your daily life? Have you clearly articulated to them where you are going and how you plan to get there? If you don’t share your business plan and your passion with the people who are closest to you, how will they know how to best support you? Don’t assume that comments you make in passing will drive home the gravity of your message. Be specific. Sharing your vision can create a dynamic whereby your core values become more clearly defined in the give and take of conversation. Make specific time with people to discuss where you are going and how they can help you get there. Express your passion respectfully and individually with the people who matter most to you, and it will spread like wildfire.
3. What qualities are most important in your team members?
Integrity? Passion? Tenacity? Knowing the qualities you value most is only the half of the equation. It’s also up to you to create the environments that allow and, in fact, challenge your team to grow and nurture those qualities. Creating such a platform will also encourage people to admit when they fall short, take constructive criticism, and make adjustments in their performance because they are working within a supportive network of well defined boundaries.
4. Are you tolerating people who don’t embody your key values or qualities? If so, why?
Are you afraid of conflict? Do you like to play the martyr? Do you want everyone to like you? Are you afraid of being “wrong”? While any one or all of these may be true at different times, the key to addressing this question goes back to defining and adhering to your must-haves, your core values. When you begin each day with a commitment to them, you won’t have time or energy to waste on anyone or anything that does not remain in alignment with what matters most to you and your business.
Essentially, to build a Super Star Team, you must first be a Super Star yourself. There are several keys to being the kind of leader that attracts the best of the best.
1. Think big! Visionary thinkers create visionary businesses.
2. Think fast! Stay on your toes and expect the same from others. A Harvard degree doesn’t necessarily equate to best and brightest. Whether a potential team member is book smart or street smart, be sure the person is a quick study with the intellectual and emotional capacity to navigate your growing business.
3. Think now! Change is good. Be cutting edge and ride the tides and you’ll attract people who feel empowered by that kind of exciting energy.
4. Think fun! When you are having fun and doing what you love, quality people with similar values will find you and your business attractive. Once you have a Super Star Team in place, fun is one of the things that will keep them there.
A Super Star Team evolves out of the synergistic energy that you put in motion. It begins and grows from being absolutely intentional about your values and your vision. When you have those two things defined, you’ll find yourself working with people who constantly inspire and challenge you and not by accident. You will have created a purposeful dynamic in which you and the people who matter most in your life will accomplish great things and touch many lives.
Copyright (c) 2007 Bea Fields and Corey Blake