How To Create A Truly Winning Team

September 23, 2021
CEO of KMS Lighthouse. Leading the company's vision to disrupt the knowledge management market.

It isn’t rocket science: True leaders wouldn’t dream of asking their team to do something they wouldn’t do themselves.

Yet every day, otherwise competent people reveal themselves to be leaders who don’t understand how to create a winning team, one where employees feel connected to the company’s goals and targets and believe the organization has a clear direction.

The Secret Formula Behind A Winning Team

Sadly, there’s no such thing as a secret recipe for building a winning team. There are, however, some proven principles that, implemented effectively, can make it appear you’ve discovered the Holy Grail of developing a winning team culture. It starts with a state of mind where you let go of any expectations around perfection and learn to share ideas, consider solutions and solve problems together with the people who look to you for guidance.

How To Create A Company DNA Built On Trust

When you create trust in the workforce, you create value for your team members and your business.

The term “company DNA” is often used to describe an organization’s culture and business strategy. Creating your company’s DNA helps you achieve authenticity and agility in a changing world, adapting and evolving in a way that fosters consistent employee buy-in as your business grows.

Leading by example is one of the most challenging aspects of leadership. Yet when you show your team you’re determined to work with them to make things happen, you engage not only their skills and wisdom but their passion and commitment.

So, how do you build a team that consistently and steadily grows, connects and thrives?

Relevant Experience Vs. High Motivation

Tradition dictates that hiring decisions be based almost exclusively on competence and relevant experience. Yes, today’s workplace teams are far more diverse, dynamic and dispersed than those of the past. While on some level most organizations understand how important it is to find candidates who are a good “culture fit,” most are still at a loss as to how to build a workforce that’s not only aligned with current needs but can also adapt and scale to achieve future goals.

That’s where hiring for potential, not experience, comes in.

Think about it. Most entrepreneurs don’t follow a conventional path to success. Many don’t get a degree in their eventual specialty. And some don’t get a degree at all. Yet their personal “winning formula” is what got them where they are today. Doesn’t it make sense to build a team that operates the same way?

Betting on and investing in people who, in many cases, are missing relevant experience and degrees yet have high motivation can be one of the greatest ways to achieve business success. That’s because when you inspire and reward enthusiasm in the people who work for you, that passion is typically transferred to other employees who join your business down the road as the company grows. In other words, your organization’s strong DNA is passed down to the next generation, creating an even bigger winning team.

Creating A Winning Team

It’s easy to be won over by someone’s great résumé. You can be so dazzled by someone’s work history and skills that you completely miss the signs that suggest they’re not a team player. It’s essential to remember that hard skills can be taught, but attitude can’t. If you’re in a startup ecosystem, you want to surround yourself with people who love the working environment and atmosphere created around them.

Here’s how to build a company where the desire to succeed is a primary component of its DNA.

• Enlist for potential. High-performing teams have the right mindset and the drive to learn and grow.

• Lead by example. Every winning team is purposefully led. A true leader sets standards and holds everyone, including themselves, accountable for reaching organizational goals.

• Grow together. Every team member must stay engaged and be prepared to do whatever it takes to achieve a common goal.

• Foster a winning mentality. Teams who are encouraged to take risks come to believe anything is achievable. Employees should be shown how to strive for the best and never look back.

• Teamwork makes the dream work. Make sure everyone can raise their voice and have their contributions taken seriously. As a leader, it’s often necessary to make decisions your team might not agree with. To keep people motivated, it’s important to share the reasons and logic behind your decision. Remain open to hearing others’ opinions and be willing to try another approach if you hear an idea that makes more sense.

 Don’t let “failure” derail progress. While it’s crucial to analyze what went wrong, it’s just as important not to dwell on mistakes. Instead, put your energy and focus on how you plan to win the next time. Whether you call it optimism, positive thinking or manifestation, the people around you will see the journey in a favorable light when you see it that way too.

People like to say that a team is only as strong as its weakest member. It’s worth considering that perhaps a team is as strong as its leader because they’re the one passing on their winning DNA.

As published in Forbes Technology Council