Creating a Championship Team

Building a great team is about getting the right people on the bus, putting them in the right seat, and then giving them the resources to do great work. 

The Right People on the Bus

In Daniel Pink’s book Drive he classifies people into 3 groups. A, B, and C players.

A “C” player is someone who rarely does what is expected. They are late, sloppy, lazy, and negatively affect the culture of the team. NEVER hire a “C” player.

A “B” player is someone who meets the minimum expectations and nothing else. Shows up on time, gets mediocre work done, then clocks out. “B” players are not typically internally motivated and will need you to manage them. Some positions may be ok for a “B” player, but nothing that has to do with creativity, community, or leadership.

An “A” player is someone that goes above and beyond what is expected. They don’t do this for increased pay or notoriety but because they simply do the best they can do in every arena of life. With sufficient education and direction, they are self-managing and create great work. ALWAYS hire “A” players when possible


Finding the Right Seat

Once you’ve got the right people on the bus, make sure they are in the right seat. In other words, make sure they are doing what they want to do as it relates to your vision. You may have an “A” player in an admin role that simply hates managing and detail-oriented work. No matter how hard he/she tries, the work simply won’t be as good as if someone passionate about admin work was doing it.

Two things to try with employees:

  1. Give them the Kolbe test (take it yourself too) to learn about their conation – their natural way of getting things done. I learned that I am almost as high as they come in quick start (idea generation, project starter, etc) and as low as they come on follow through. There is no “good” or “bad” when it comes to conation. It just is. So I learned that I have to team up with people with a higher follow through that can make sure projects get finished and we stay on task.
  2. Ask them what they want to do. A good question to ask: What kind of work do you feel you could do for hours without getting tired of it?

Someone doing mediocre work might just mean that they are in the wrong seat. If you know you’ve got an “A” player, then just keep searching for that right spot on the team for them.


Make sure they know the vision, then let them take the reigns 

As the leader, it’s important to constantly remind your team of the vision. With that said, we know that one of the main motivations of man (and woman) is autonomy. In other words, keep telling them where you want to go, and let them do it their way.

Some of us like lots of structure, and some of us feel suffocated by any of it. Find out how much your team member likes and give that to them. Then let them complete the rest their own way.

The ability to make our own decisions and have more “say-so” over our jobs WILL significantly improve the quality of our work.

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