Unpopular Opinions on Building a Great Team

I am so pleased and encouraged by how well the team at Stodzy is working together. The more experience I gain, the more obvious it is to me that the quality of the people you work with is the biggest indicator of your success.

“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”

It’s been a challenge to learn how to create a team that WANTS to work at my company. Every morning when I check slack, I see delightful conversations, enthusiasm and celebrating success at our company. It means so much to me.

People want to be a part of something. People wants to be appreciated. People want to do meaningful work and they want to belong to winning team.

I have learned this lesson the hard way. I’ve gone through phases where I was convinced that people only wanted a paycheck, and I would be “robotic” in my management style.

Then I’ve gone too far in the other direction, where I prioritized the relationships with my team and wanted to be their friends and talk them through personal issues to show that I really care.

Both of these management techniques are futile.

Here’s what you have to do.

You have to understand that the culture of your business is predicated on one thing… success.

Using a sports analogy, when people talk about great culture in the locker rooms, they are never talking about teams with losing records. It’s always the teams who are winning that have the best culture.

I realize this could be a chicken or the egg scenario. Do they have great culture because they win or do they win because they have great culture?

That’s not important. What’s important is that your job is to create the winning mentality. If everyone on your team is motivated to win, then the true winners will rise up to meet the demand.

As the leader, your job is simple…

  1. Hire winners.

  2. Create a mentality of excellence.

  3. Be ruthless in your unwillingness to tolerate mediocre work.

  4. Be extra celebratory in your success.

  5. Praise in public.

  6. Criticize in private.

  7. Fire losers as fast as possible. Treat them like cancer. Cut it out the very second you discover the tumor.

  8. Create accountability and be clear in who is accountable for what.

  9. You MUST be a winner yourself. It’s very difficult for team mates to feel encouraged when a leader isn’t pulling his/her weight.

If you prioritize great people and you put them in a position where they can achieve as individuals, you will be blown away by how that individualistic mentality manifests itself into a team

Keep the winners. Fire the losers. And your team will be the greatest asset you have.