Great Teams Have One Thing in Common

Coach for it and watch your team grow from good to great.

The type of team doesn’t matter—business, professional sports, volunteers, Fantasy Football. The type of industry you’re in doesn’t matter. The size of the team doesn’t matter. To be great, any team needs just one thing: a high percentage of star players.

All good teams have at least a few stars—the serial winners. All great teams have more of them.

A few years ago, two researchers calculated that high performers deliver 400% more productivity than average performers.* Fantastic! Serial winners, those high performers, carry teams through crises with their results and their attitudes. They keep their heads and respond immediately to the challenges. They lead and inspire others to stay on track. The more serial winners you have, the more likely the team will be able to handle any setback that comes along.

But do you want to know the best reason to have a lot of serial winners on your team? They self-manage. And that takes some of the “task management” pressure off of you, freeing you up to focus on the most important things.

“So where can I find these special people?” you’re probably asking. Let me tell you, I’ve spent decades talking to leaders about how to build strong, productive, capable teams and I’ve never heard one of them say, “One day, all of these amazing people showed up at my door. I hired them and it’s just been easy ever since. One success after another.” No. It’s never that easy.

If you want serial winners on your team, you have to grow your own.

Along the way, you’ll build a culture—an environment where the best behaviors and skills are taught and reinforced—that attracts more good people and makes your best want to stay. To help you get going, I’ve just released a free resource, Tips for Developing More Serial Winners on Your Team. (Download it here.) It offers some guidance on how to coach people into the 5 actions that produce consistent success and growth, which I’ve described in my new book, Serial Winner. First, though, let’s cover a few fundamentals of coaching effectively and efficiently.

3 Coaching Fundamentals

1. Focus on a small set of activities or behaviors that produce results: I believe the quickest, simplest way to develop a lineup of stars is to focus on the Cycle of Winning: Decide, Overdo, Adjust, Finish, Keep Improving. These actions involve skills and responses that allow anybody to minimize problems and maximize successes. With them, you are teaching your team members how to overcome obstacles and move ahead, no matter what happens. The more the people on your team do these five things, the more the team will win and the more the leaders will reveal themselves.

2. Use every project or initiative as an opportunity to coach: The more specific you are in your coaching, the better your results will be. The very best opportunity you have to develop the right actions is to turn every project into a coaching opportunity. In the context of actual work, you can be more specific. It’s just smart leadership: get done what you need to get done and develop your team at the same time.

3. Take a look in the mirror: Developing people into serial winners puts a different kind of pressure on us as leaders. When we’re leading people who love to operate at the highest level, we have to operate at our highest level in order to lead them effectively. Bottom line: It takes a winner to coach a winner. If you want to build a team of serial winners, you have to start with you.

To do big things, you need a team. Positive results rely on you building a good team. Exciting results come when you build a great team. Make coaching your people to accelerate their development a priority. It will benefit them and pay big dividends for you and the team.

For some practical advice on building a winning team, with tips pulled from the resource, check out my SlideShare Presentation.

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*Ernest O’Boyle Jr. and Herman Aguinis, “The Best and the Rest: Revisiting the Norm of Normality of Individual Performance,” Personnel Psychology, vol. 65, issue 1, February 27, 2012. Get abstract here.

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