How Remodelers Can Organize Teams Around Profitable Projects

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What differentiates uniquely successful teams however is their ability to leverage their exceptional players while holding the team as a whole accountable.

February 01, 2010

As a gawky kid, I barely made it through Pee-Wee soccer, but, if memory serves, typically all 11 players follow the ball around like a swarm of bees on a moving honey pot, each determined to be the one to kick the winning goal. Parents cheer over hot cups of coffee, coaches high five and Norman Rockwell smiles down from heaven.

Eventually, these same players learn about accepting a position of strength, passing the ball to a player poised to score, and doing what's best for the whole team. Unfortunately, star centers and weekend warriors alike who know these truths of teamwork on the field still run businesses a bit like the Pee-Wee league. Teams stumble around in hyperactive herds trying to deliver on customer satisfaction and profitable margins.


It is up to the team leader to take the time and perseverance to discover how each player can uniquely inform the team’s success.


It's not that these teams comprise only bad hires — quite the contrary in fact. Successful firms boast rosters full of the shiniest resumes and the most polished professionals. What differentiates uniquely successful teams however is their ability to leverage their exceptional players while holding the team as a whole accountable.

Having hired well, these great teams first capitalize on player strengths — strengths not defined by resume only but by what comes naturally, what a player is passionate about, what she is predisposed to do. No job description can fully encompass what a player can truly contribute. It is up to the team leader to take the time and perseverance to discover how each player can uniquely inform the team's success.

At the same time and with a similar perseverance, successful teams determine a shared desired outcome and hold the collective, not the individual, accountable for achieving it. This is what makes the ordinary extraordinary. Teams that concentrate on the whole spend much less time on knee jerk individual criticism and irrelevant finger pointing. Stunning examples include firefighters at the scene of a five-alarm blaze or a previously cursed baseball team in game seven of the World Series. In both situations, the collective desired outcome is both much greater than the contribution of any single player, and not achievable without it.

It takes great wisdom and self control to understand that being a strong support piece in a web is just as powerful as kicking in the game winning goal. So try removing the ball from the center of your metaphorical gaggle of Pee Wee kids every now and again and watch the effect on your bottom line.

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