Last Friday, I was a bit spontaneous and decided to go and watch a San Francisco Giants game with some friends. Sometime amidst the helpings of hot dogs, the fog, the beer lines, the fog, and the droves of fans at another sellout crowd, I got into a conversation with a good friend about what makes the team so great – did I mention the fog? During our conversation, one thing really stuck out. Throughout the entire conversations, my friend kept falling back on one principle: the reason why the Giants are a good team is good because they play like a team.
I found his argument pretty interesting. Ever wonder why despite having big name players sometimes teams are unsuccessful and others full of no-name players have such storied runs? For a team to be successful everyone must do their own part. Whether it’s sports or in the office, it’s pretty obvious that the same rule of thumb applies. So how then can you make sure your team is going to pull together and be successful?
Vineet Nayar, CEO of Indian-based HCL Technologies, is here to help. In a Harvard Business Review article, Nayar outlines three important elements that make up a successful team.
- A Crazy Big Challenge: It’s about the journey. In most cases, the fun lies not in the end result, but rather in the chase. Having a big goal acts a team catalyst. It helps motivate individuals to drive towards something larger. Nayar believes that, “When people face big, hairy and audacious goals, searching for solutions becomes exciting, even obsessive.” A big challenge ignites team members to all pull in the same direction which is exciting.
- People with a Passion to Perform: When building your team, it’s important to incorporate passionate people. Team members with a passion to perform help spur others on, getting the most out of them. In teams full of high performers, no one wants to be the one guy who’s not pulling their weight. The desire to perform then builds on itself like a snowball, helping push teams to the next level.
- Room to Excel: Nayar believes “the third crucial element [for successful teams] is the space to innovate, to be able to make mistakes and start over.” Sound a bit familiar? Fail fast, fail hard, just don’t fail the same way twice, is a mantra of a lot of managers. There’s a reason why this philosophy is so popular, it works. Everyone has the ability to be successful, but to unlock that ability it has to be ok to fail. Nayar sums this philosophy up best by saying, “A team leader who can provide the right amount of room for experimentation can ignite the power of passion and generate miraculous results.”
Killer teams are not built around one star player. It takes a coordinated effort where everyone does their own part to show repeated success. If team members see and understand the challenge in front of them, and have the passion to perform, they will. The all-star teams of today are passionate, self-driven, and often self-organized individuals, waiting to be lead. It’s time to seize the moment and tap into them.