How to build great teams

I gave a brief talk recently on how to effectively build teams. These are the main lessons I shared:

1. Build trust. No one will follow someone they don’t trust. I cited Steven M.R. Covey’s The Speed of Trust as my guidebook for doing so. Covey cites 13 principles for earning and keeping trust. I recommend jotting down the first 13 that come to your mind before reading the book and seeing how close you are to the 13 that he cites. I bet you’ll be surprised by what you miss.

2. Visualize success. Before you form your team, what is it that they are going to be doing? Set your goals for the team, then picture exactly, person to person, what they will be doing if you were to succeed in your goals. But don’t just practice positive visualization — practice critical visualization as well. That can help tell you how many people you need, how long you will need them, and what skills they need to have. If you need to pay them, figure out how.

3. Learn how to recruit. A very successful executive once told me that his organization’s secret to success was understanding that you can’t train attitude, you have to hire it. Skill sets are important, but if you have employees that have great attitudes, you can often simply teach them what they need to know. Recruitment is a difficult skill, but you have to learn it if you want to build great teams. The best way to learn? Practice — I’ve been forming teams since I was 20-years-old; I have learned a lot since then.

4. Use technology to facilitate team interaction. Technology, be it cell phones, email, or the use of social media to foment revolution, is critically important for removing barriers to effective team communication and management. Find and implement the tools that your team needs to come together.

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