I’ve always appreciated the value of a great team but no more so than in the last three years when my team and I had the challenge of integrating an acquisition, growing the business, developing new product strategies, forming a Chinese joint venture, driving culture change, and adding $16 billion of new product orders. (PHEW!) Not many teams surmount so much challenge or change. In trying to share with you the special ingredients of this indomitable team, I found myself describing four ridiculously simple qualities that in grade school made the best kickball team: big, fast, smart and fun.
Big. They’re accountable and committed. You know the “go to” person who always comes through. How do you know they will? Because they always have. They have a reputation for it. Others want to follow these leaders who get things done because everyone revels in the sense of accomplishment and purpose.
Fast. You have to run to keep up with them. They set the pace, anticipate what’s coming, and figure out how to work around it, leverage it, or change it. They’re not afraid to make decisions and their energy is contagious and uplifting.
Smart. They have a million ideas and they know the difference between good and bad ones. They are equally good at thinking heady, abstract thoughts and developing clever, pragmatic plans to get resources marshaled. They’re tough-minded, intellectually curious and they are not afraid to challenge you.
Fun. People like being around them because they are exhilarating, spirited. They have a great sense of humor and a keen sense of self. They attract talent to the team because, well… they’re fun!
Sometimes you get really lucky and find all these qualities rolled into one person…what a find! More often than not, you need to draft these diverse “all-stars” and then create an environment where everyone is valued for both their unique talents and their commitment to win as a team. It worked in grade school…still does. I hope you have a chance to coach a team like this as it will make you bigger, faster, smarter and a lot more fun.