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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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Do You Have the Right Team?

A business is only as good as the team members that work within it.

So often, we hear the Business Owner saying…

“Everything would be fine if the team that work for me did as they were supposed to.”

But, the real questions that follow are:

  • Who recruited the team?
  • What process was used to determine the right people to recruit?
  • Who is responsible for getting the Team to do what they’re supposed to?
  • What is the reason that they’re not doing what they’re supposed to?

Unfortunately, as the Business Owner, you have to accept responsibility for the team you have. But what makes a successful team? We often use the phrase – are all our team ‘on the bus?’ So what determines whether they are ‘on the bus?’

There are two aspects to consider; does the team member get results or not and do they have the values or not? Jack Welch, Ex CEO of GE, had a neat way of charting people within his organisation:

andys-team-on-board-article1

Consider your team at present and how they fit into the matrix.

If they have the values and get results, then the course of action is crystal clear. Look after these people. They are great team members and should be developed, promoted, rewarded and generally encouraged within the business.

It is equally easy to understand that if they don’t have the values and don’t get results they should be exited from the business immediately.

The next category, have the values but don’t get results require some attention. Basically they need to be developed, trained, helped to perform where they are. If this doesn’t work then they may be repositioned within the business to an area where they can get results. If this still doesn’t work then they will have to be delicately exited from the business and helped in their pursuit for alternative employment.

The last category is the most difficult to come terms with. These are the people who get results but don’t have the values. Often we find business owners scared to deal with them as they bring in the most business, so feel that the normal business rules don’t apply to them. They feel that they’re above all of that and can get away with murder.

The only way to deal with this group of people is to exit them from the business (at our convenience) as they are like the one rotten apple in the business that will turn the others bad. This is quite frightening for some as they worry how they will replace the income of business. The most important thing here is that it needs to be dealt with sooner rather than later as leaving the situation or failing to deal with it will just result in a much larger problem later down the line.