What Makes Powerful Teams

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Scenario: "Dude, just assemble a bunch of superstars. Then, give them a bunch of tasks. Then, see them rock. Yay!"

  1. You put Tomas, Sally, Hendy, Anuj, and Adam in a room.
  2. They're all superstars from their past jobs.

You read business books seeking to "empower" them, so you give them full reign to do whatever they want.

What do you get?

  • 5 different frickin' projects from 5 different frickin' superstars that -- although good -- not built to the super-fab potential you seek.

Instead, if you want to make your superstars/employees/people work fabulously together, follow The Unite-to-Big-Ass Rule: Unite the team with a shared goal -- one that freakishly rocks every one of their juices.

Why You Need 100% Commitment

For the The Unite-to-Big-Ass Rule to work, Tomas, Sally, Hendy, Anuj, and Adam need to be totally-100%-committed to a shared goal. That is:

  • If the goal's a brainchild of Tomas, where everybody else just becomes his "troops" -- the team abandons other members' strengths.
  • If Sally's not totally committed to the team's goals, she'll serve as dead weight to the team -- destroying the team's productivity/resources.
  • If Hendy and Anuj have no input into the "shared" goal, and just go along with whatever's said -- the team abdicates their passions/strengths.

Psychologically, our brains work this way:

  • If we're immersed in a decision, we're super-biased to -- and fall in love with -- that decision.
  • If we're not involved in a decision, most of the time: our hearts couldn't care less.

So if you find one/two/three/yadda team members who doesn't share that common goal with the rest of the team, you've got some options:

  1. Move them to other teams -- so they won't corrupt the rest of the team.
  2. Remove them completely. If they can't possibly align their goals with anyone on your team, you probably made hiring mistakes.

Why You Want Big-Ass Goals

Ask your badass: What team goal would your rather choose?

  • a) Increase orders by 5% by 2008.
  • b) Increase orders by 200% by 2008.

For you inherent ass-kickers: (b) gets your juices moving, and compels you to tap 1000% of your brainpower/mind/body/soul/sexiness to viciously beat that goal into submission. Excitement breeds super productivity, which breeds spectacular results. Importantly, a big-ass goal serves as the secret glue that binds a team together: With higher stakes, a team becomes more dependent on optimizing everyone's strengths/capabilities/experience.

How to Create Those Big-Ass Goals

It takes collaboration from every team member to derive a common goal that gets them ticking. Those goals should be:

  1. Concrete.
  2. Time-sensitive.
  3. Simple.

Examples include:

  1. "Boost customer satisfaction 300% by next month."
  2. "Increase sales 100% by December 1st."
  3. "Boost daily customer sales to 100 by September."
  4. "Cut sales cycle time by 10 days by next week."

Once you get 100% total commitment from every team member, you've built the foundation to creating one freakishly powerful team. And then the magic starts happening: You'll watch those team members pooling their resources to beat that big-ass goal into submission -- like a harmonious opera performance happening in front of your eyes. It's a beautiful thing.

Unite a team with one shared big-ass goal.


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Posted on April 18

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