Great Players Don’t Make Great Teams

I created this spreadsheet earlier in my career to make sure I had the right team in place. Over the years it continually amazes me with its accuracy in predicting performance AND its ability to triage. Rarely have I been above a 7 average and not met our goals.

team-assessment1 (click to enlarge)

Watching the N.Y. Yankees lose to the Boston Red Sox again last night. That is 5 in a row. Made me think about it. The Yankees have great players. But, I don’t think they have a very good team. Building teams out of people requires a focus on the job as much as the individual. Measuring people is easy. It’s an individual exercise. Measuring teams, that’s a little different. To build a good team, you have to focus on the job.

To build a good team requires focus on the entire effort, not just the individual players. It requires an inventory of all the elements required to be successful. What I’ve found is by taking an inventory of the roles and evaluating the team collectively gaps are identified. It’s these gaps that impede performance.

Each quarter I review my team against a similar chart. This is for me, if asked I will share, however I have separate performance review process. (My team assessment and individual performance reviews are intricately linked). I look to understand how each member of my team is performing against the critical elements of the job. I identify gaps and target that quarters efforts to improving those elements. I enjoy this exercise. Identifying the gaps is a rush for me. With out this process, I would miss too many revenue impacting and team performance issues.

With amazing accuracy, the lowest scores on the chart align with the problem areas in my organization. By reviewing this chart (an example chart, not real), I can tell you that this team most likely has no succession planning, they lack career development process, and some of its rising stars maybe in jeopardy of leaving. It also suggests this team is very flexible. By looking at their highest score in Coachability, this team is flexible, agile and responsive. Addressing issues and problems are not a challenge for this team.

This process is also great for finding the poor fits. Not only am I able to see the teams effectiveness, I can see how the individuals “FIT” into the team. Those in red are dragging the team down. The goal is a collective team score of 7.0 or higher. However, to see where the problem player(s) are is critical (this is where the performance review component comes in).

Every organizations chart should look different. Every leaders chart will contain different criteria. Take the time, understand what is critical to make your team successful and then measure it.

Having a view into your team takes the guess work out of it. Knowing the players is great but knowing the team is the awesome. Ask the Yankees!