Building A Great Team: The Greater The Delay The Greater The Damage
The building of a great team starts with developing great
leadership or a great coaching staff — a staff that gets rewarded for building
a great, high performance team. One of the most important aspects of management
is to hire, train and retain the best talent possible. The longer an
organization delays this process of developing a solid staff, the greater will
be the damage to the organization.
When the organization invests in developing a solid staff, they come to realize their special talent as a leader, manager and coach, lies in being able to consistently recruit the best players and bring out the very best in all their players. Filling the pipeline with talented, high-performance people is the admission price for sustainability, future growth and building a winning team. A well trained and coached staff is the key.
This line of thinking takes the complex world of leadership and management and boils it down to a single organizing concept — the kind of principle idea that unifies, organizes, and guides all key decisions as it relates to becoming a great organization. As an organization you must organize based on what you want the organization to become, not simply based on what is being done on a daily basis. Leaders/managers at all levels must become the developers of a “talent pool” for the future. People in supervisory or leadership roles with the proper training and development will understand that their primary job is to focus on the building and development and the coaching, of the team for which they are responsible.
The soft side of leadership/management is all about making the hard choices. The leader, manager and coach accept the personal responsibility for making tough decisions. This must start with a solid assessment of your talent. It’s all about who is going to be on the team, and who is not. Here is a straightforward approach for “assessing performance” to enable your organization to strengthen itself with the best talent. You can continually improve your talent pool by: investing in A players (the best 10 to 20 percent), developing your B players (the mid 60 to 70 percent), and acting decisively on C players (the bottom 10 to 20 percent). This is not about passing judgment on people. It is about taking a snapshot in time and assessing the strength of your players. This process is not about using people simply as if they are merely a means to an end. It has everything to do with populating the team with solid talent, and then coaching and inspiring that talent to self-actualize, which will help those people create meaning for themselves and the organization.
Once you have identified the different levels of talent, you can then begin the dialogue with each player at each level that will allow you to drive his or her level of performance in a direction that will best meet both personal needs, and the business objectives of the organization. This approach amounts to: (1) looking out for (taking good care of) and strategically placing your very best talent; (2) challenging and training the mid-level talent to get better; and (3) deciding what role, if any, your least talented players will have. One of the greatest barriers to optimum team performance is having people on the teams that are not capable of pulling their weight. Keeping the wrong people around is unfair to the right people because they see their hard work impeded by those who cannot or will not perform as needed.
This process of ranking your players is directed at evaluating and assembling the best talent for your specific team and placing the right person in the right position for the overall benefit of the person and the organization. Borrowing from the GE play book, any replacement players brought on to the team should be better than your best players, thereby raising the bar of performance for the entire team.
The future does not become reality simply because of great people. The future lies in providing an environment where great people are encouraged to develop and exchange innovative ideas, where they are allowed to take the risks needed for greatness, and where they are rewarded and appreciated for their effort. Only with great people working in a great environment can we achieve great plans. A successful leader, manager and coach must be defined as: one who facilitates the emergence of the innate ability in those that he or she leads, so they have a major and sustainable impact on the present and future plans, performance, and profitable growth of the organization. A leader, manager and coach must be like a thermostat rather than a thermometer — a thermostat that is actively determining and adjusting the environment, rather than a passive thermometer which is simply recording the environment.
The leader, manager and coach must hire, train, retain, and reward the best people, the A-level people who are delivering A-level performance, the people who achieve excellence in everything they do. To be successful in today’s crazy economic environment you need the most knowledgeable and hardest working people you can hire or help develop. Helping people develop takes courage, because it involves understanding what kind of strengths and skills are required to accomplish the business priorities and then to match the right person to the right job. Mismatches need to be dealt with quickly to give the individual and the organization the edge required for effective execution of the business objectives. This requires a disciplined, planned approach.
To assure success, the organization needs to continue to place as much emphasis on developing a great leadership, management, coaching staff that can put the right talent in the right job, as it applies to keeping spending in line. The strength of an organization does not lie in its structure; it is centered in the collective strength of its leaders/managers and the people they lead. As you strive to become a great organization, you must continually invest in great people and help them grow. Organizations should make sure that, at every level, their leaders/managers and the talented people they lead have an abundance of high performers to draw from both now and in the future. The objective must be to develop a pipeline of people who have the right attitude and aptitude to allow business sustainability and growth.