Dream Teams Aren’t Always Dreamy

Have you ever experienced this? You’re part of a team made up of the most qualified or talented people in their particular area…and the team can’t get a darn thing done.

I always wondered how the original “Dream Team,” the 1992 United States men’s Olympic basketball team, was able to win the gold medal considering it was loaded with active NBA players and the giant egos that come along with them. I’d assumed it was due to superior coaching by Chuck Daly who kept their egos in check. Thanks to insights Simon Sinek provides in his book, Start with Why, it’s clear that because the team believed in a “bigger why” they were able to achieve. It was more important to bring home the gold for the US than to win individual accolades. Team triumphed over ego.

Companies would do well to remember this lesson when they choose to pay mega-salaries to get the best talent. That type of person is working for themselves—they’ve not bought into the mission or vision of your business. So when push comes to shove it’s unlikely that they’ll go the extra mile without additional incentives.

When creating your ideal team concentrate on creating an environment that fosters great ideas and set a North Star for the team to work toward. Recruit for the like-minded who share the company’s values and believe in your mission. Not only is it likely that the team will surprise you with their thinking, you’ll have less managing to do.

Amanda Mitchell is an executive coach and strategist specializing in helping senior executives deal with disruptive drama within their teams. An advertising agency veteran, she experienced first-hand the business implications of corporate drama both with her Fortune 500 clients and within the Manhattan ad agency she led. She founded Our Corporate Life (www.ourcorporatelife.com) to help executives solve the problems no one wants to deal with. She has been published in Bloomberg Businessweek, and quoted in Fast Company, CNBC.com, and Monster.com. She lives in New Jersey with her family.

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