Where Talent Thrives or Dies – How to Build Effective Teams

Poorly run teams are where talent goes to die.

Talent thrives on effective teams.

Talent dies where jerk-holes thrive.

Where talent thrives:

There’s more to success than meeting the numbers. You get what you honor. When you honor jerk-holes, you get jerks.

#1. Define the way you want to treat each other while you do the work.

Begin by discussing the traits and behaviors that build effective teams. But don’t stop with personal preferences. If you do, extroverts win.

#2. Learn and discuss the characteristics of effective teams. (Project Aristotle)

  • Psychological safety – “If I make a mistake on our team, it is not held against me.”
  • Dependability – “When my teammates say they’ll do something, they follow through with it.”
  • Structure and Clarity – “Our team has an effective decision-making process.”
  • Meaning – “The work I do for our team is meaningful to me.”
  • Impact – “I understand how our team’s work contributes to the organization’s goals.”

#3. Adopt a project-based approach. Discuss the above list with your team. Choose one characteristic to develop this month.

  1. What will you see or hear when someone is working to develop an effective team?
  2. Notice when someone acts in ways that strengthen your team. “I notice…”

Next step: read and discuss, “The Ideal Team Player,” by Patrick Lencioni.

In order to get the team you want, you have to let go of the team you have. Stop enabling ineffective teamwork by defining what you want and working to change.

The hardest thing about change is letting go of what is.

For reflection – 5 reasons talent dies:

  1. Too much support and not enough challenge.
  2. Too much challenge and not enough support.
  3. Bureaucracy devalues creativity and hard work.
  4. Policy eliminates autonomy.
  5. Favoritism honors poor performers. Hard work goes down when poor work is honored.

Tip: Hire team members who are hungry, humble and smart. (Interview questions.)

What do you see happening on teams where talent dies?

What suggestions do you have for building effective teams?