Caliber Business Team – Ways to Build an Olympic

Olympic-caliber teams have Olympic-caliber talent. If you want to attract Olympic-caliber talent to your organization, you need to be the type of organization — and have the type of.. 

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With the Summer Olympics here, one can’t help but raise the question that many business leaders ask when the Olympics rolls around: “How do we create Olympic-caliber teams in our company?” This kind of question can lead to some cringe-worthy clichés about what makes a team. Following are seven strategies to do what it really takes.

Figure out what kind of team you really want.
Many leaders and managers talk in vague terms about teams, when sometimes they don’t even want a team at all. Jon Katzenbach’s classic book “The Wisdom of Teams” notes the huge differences between a working group and a team. In a working group, people come to work, do their jobs and go home. They don’t go out of their way for their colleagues and basically want to get the job done and be left alone. A team can increase performance exponentially compared to a working group and it takes a lot more time, commitment and effort to become a true team. In a team, people care about each other, go the extra mile, and figure out how to work closely together to perform at the highest levels. Many leaders set up incentives and structures for people to come together as working groups, yet they talk as if they really have a team.


Caliber Business Team – Ways to Build an Olympic

At the same time, there are many different types of teams. In a symphony, everyone works together in perfect synchronicity, following the exact score. Contrast this to a jazz band, which encourages improvisation and creativity and sometimes creates the music on the spot. Getting back to the sports analogy, a winning basketball team has specialized roles for each player, and works fluidly to find openings, pass the ball, and make baskets. At the other end of the spectrum in terms of coordination, there is the swim team or track team, in which players compete more or less individually in order to help the overall team win.

If you don’t define what kind of team you expect, and support people to create that type of team, you won’t get the kinds of results you intended.

Answer the talent question.
Olympic-caliber teams have Olympic-caliber talent. If you want to attract Olympic-caliber talent to your organization, you need to be the type of organization — and have the type of leaders — where Olympic-caliber talent would want to work. For instance, hospitals strive towards the designation of Nurse Magnet by putting in place systems and structures that attract the best nursing talent. Every year certain companies make the Best Companies to Work For list — and some of them make the list every single year without fail. Whether you are a Fortune 500 Company or a small business, you can put in place the kinds of incentives, career paths, management team and culture that encourage people to do their best and also tell others about how great it is to work with you.

Create an environment that challenges talent.
Olympians love challenge. They love the rewards that come with winning. They want the best coaches to develop them. They thrive on autonomy and the opportunity to keep improving and being the best. While a lot of their passion and drive is internal, they still need the type of environment in which they can thrive. Does your company help people to thrive, or does it cause people to feel stagnant within a year or two? If you want people to thrive, create jobs with autonomy. Encouraging coaching and ongoing development at all levels. Give everyone a path to keep moving forward and up in the organization.

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