Have you seen soccer teams come together? Soccer is very much a team sport. Players use their individual talents to advance the ball towards the goal, but ultimately pass to others on their team who are in a better position to score. In doing so, they sacrifice their moment in the spotlight for the good of the team. You can claim all you want that you have a team of elite players, but if they cannot play as a team, you’re going to lose possession of the ball more often than not.
Project teams work much the same way. Companies often fall into the trap of recruiting elite and highly qualified employees who can make exceptional individual contributions. But these individuals can sometimes struggle in a team environment. Put these people in a team setting and the problems immediately become apparent:
- resistance to team processes,
- reluctance to give up control to others who are in a better position to manage, and
- a refusal to hand off tasks to other people so they can also contribute to the best of their abilities.
You can build a self-managing team that knows how to get to the end goal by working together. The key is to find people who are great contributors and can also work in a team. It’s important to find this balance if you want to play to win!
How do you put winning teams together? I’d love to hear your approach.