I’ve been fascinated by teams most of my life. I guess it started when I was about 6 years old. It was in the days before tee ball – I think it was just called baseball then. From that day until today, I’ve been on countless teams… some good, some really bad and a few great ones. I’ve been on sports teams of all kinds, church teams (or committees) and certainly scores of teams at work. One thing remains constant; the best teams seem to have figured something out that the others have missed. What is it?
At Chick-fil-A, we officially began studying teams in the late 1980's. It’s a journey we’re still on today. I recently wrote about some of what we've learned in a book entitled, The Secret of Teams. Here are five of the principles we’ve discovered:
Great teams focus on results – Teams that achieve greatness pursue great things. Performance is not secondary to the best teams. They understand their objective and they measure their progress. The best teams view the team as a means to achieving something, not as an end to itself.
Talent is the foundation of great teams – Jack Welch said, “The team with the best players usually wins.” He is correct. Great teams invest time, energy and dollars to ensure the right players around the table.
Two types of skills are essential for success – Individual members of the team must be skilled in their assigned role. Also, each member of the team must learn the necessary team skills. Team skills are things like: how to have effective meetings, how to do effective problem solving in a team setting, conflict resolution, etc.
Community separates the great teams from all the others – Many teams have talent and skills – and they perform adequately. However, the best teams, the great ones, have learned that a strong sense of Community will turbo-charge their performance.
Teams don’t drift to greatness - Leadership will be required. The formula to become a high-performing team is not complex, but it is difficult to execute. Creating the type of team that creates sustained, outstanding performance over time begins with a leadership moment – a decision that is supported by ongoing leadership.
I’ll share more about our team journey in the days ahead.
What questions do you have about building a great team?