Lesson #2: Build a Team

Leadership is the way a person recognizes the good intentions of others and turns those good intentions into positive action. That kind of treatment can transform a group of people into a team that works well together. Pickens truly believes in being a team player. “A management style is an amalgamation of the best of other people you have known and respected, and eventually you develop your own style. … I never consciously manage anybody. I try to lead people,” he likes to say.

When people are working together, they get things done. When people are being individuals, then things can get messed up. You lose your focus when you do not have someone there to help guide you or ones to help you through the tough times that are eventually going to come. A good team will help each other accomplish amazing things. That is why it is so important to have good people around you.

One aspect that Pickens passed on to his team was to not pay attention to age. Give young people a chance to show that they belong and have good ideas. Always being asking, “Anybody made money today … Anybody got an idea for how we can make any money … Am I the only one trying to make money around here?” Some of those money-making ideas will come from younger people.

Recognizing the best qualities in people can help you build a team that makes you successful. You do not want a team where everyone has the same skills. You need a team where everyone has different abilities. By doing this, you bring out the best in others and everyone feels as though they are needed.

One aspect of picking team members is to make sure they are productive. Pickens likes to say, “Everything here happens fast. There isn’t any standing around.” You want your team to be workers and not stand around waiting for others to come up with ideas. Once you have found those team members, then all you have to do is lead them in the right direction.

One thing that Pickens makes sure of is that his team members have a stake in the business success and failure. If they have a stake, the team members will work harder. If they have a stake in whether you fail or succeed, then they are going to try as hard as they can to make that business venture succeed.

When it comes to the success of your team, Pickens advises, “Keep things informal. Talking is the natural way to do business. Writing is great for keeping records and putting down details, but talk generates ideas. Great things come from our luncheon meetings, which consist of a sandwich, a cup of soup, and a good idea or two. No martinis.”

Build a solid team so you can be more productive and achieve goals you never thought you would.

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