Building Teams


Perhaps the greatest predictor of success in business and life is a person’s ability to build a team. Nothing good happens because of a single player. Pro golfers have caddies, singers have voice coaches, and even the legendary entrepreneurs had mentors and investors. Perhaps you can be evil alone, but to build or accomplish anything worthwhile, you must have a group of individuals pulling toward the same goal, even if it is just for a short time.

Yet we stress individual achievement in our education system, and for the most part punish anyone who collaborates or builds a team to hit an objective. Even worse, we encourage our kids to go into sports such as golf and tennis, and then let them play video games at home instead of interacting with peers.

Several social observers have written that a person’s future level of success is easier seen on the playground than in their Grade Point Average. Organizations such as football, baseball, band, and choir teach better and more intense life lessons than academic courses. (Don’t misunderstand me. I am a big fan of academics, and I know the value of Literature, Math, History, etc. But one cannot lay an excellent foundation and then proclaim the building to be finished!)

In school, sports teams and music/drama groups teach preparation, devotion to the team, the value of each player, rules, and, most importantly, performance in real time, usually in front of an audience. We see Teams play a “life and death” role in the military.

The ability to function on a team will get you a job. Leadership skills guarantee a career. Building and motivating a team from scratch puts you into the company of people like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Oprah, Warren Buffet, and Ted Turner.

For the job seeker, the importance of building a Team cannot be overstressed. We call this Team our Network. This group can tell us about jobs before anyone else, get us introductions and recommendations to the CEO, and give us foreknowledge to sell ourselves in the interview.

But if Team Building is so important, then why is this skill almost never mentioned, much less taught? We have courses for job hunters on:

  • writing resumes
  • creating catchy cover letters
  • interviewing
  • dressing for success, and
  • social networking.

But we never teach the job hunter how to interact with other humans!

What is Team Building? One writer calls it “Creating your Tribe.” In other words, drawing other people to you, bonding with those individuals, and developing a common goal. Once you create your team, you must continue to build it. Your team is a living organism, it must be led, fed, taught, and encouraged.

For the next several posts we will take apart the process of Building Your Team.

  • How to Determine the best Mixture/Make Up of Personnel
  • How to Recruit
  • Payment and Motivation
  • How Deep is the Pool Where You Fish?
  • Getting a Mentor/Being a Mentor
  • Resources