Someone on a project takes about a week to respond to emails. Tech support doesn't quite keep up on the latest malware infestations. You write a glowing marketing plan, and then it sits on Dropbox for days on end before anyone bothers to review it.

Guess what? You're not going to experience much success.

Without casting any blame, the reality of your situation is that you have to decide whether your team is going to help you find success or not. If they are holding you back, it's time to find a different team. Or a different company.

The axiom is true: A rising tide lifts all boats. And, the reverse of that is also true: A sinking tide lowers all boats, especially your own.

I've  written about the fact that you have to take responsibility for your own success, but that sometimes means taking a long hard look at your colleagues and asking yourself some tough questions. Is their lack of productivity slowing you down? Is their poor technical expertise the one thing that's making you look bad? I mentioned how you can't blame others, but what that usually means is not blaming but changing your situation, influencing others, or even finding a different team altogether.

Let's start by defining success. It's not about the money. Using the example of that glowing marketing plan, you write it with a high level of clarity, accuracy, and creativity. Good. Let's say you have written something that will effectively communicate a message and accomplish great things for the firm. Now it falls into the hands of your team. An exceptional team adds to it, improves it, smooths out any rough edges, and makes it better. It flows through the engine of the company with fine precision. There are no delays. The company lands a big account and everyone pats themselves on the back. Success is never just about one person doing something better than everyone else, it's usually about a team doing something better than everyone else. By that definition of success, the cogs of productivity moved perfectly. Your success didn't depend on others, but it was promoted by others.

Now, think about a lack of success. It is usually due to a few reasons. There is too much bureaucracy. There are too many layers. There's a boss who wants to exert too much control. The accounting department doesn't seem to be able to approve budgets and expenses fast enough. A lack of success happens when too many people are unproductive, lack expertise, and make bad decisions.

Your success is dependent on your team, which is why there are times when the only solution to a problem is to fire someone. You have to remove the cogs. It can be painful, but it's often the only way to promote overall success. If the entire team has serious problems, it leads to things like low sales numbers, poor market share, and bankruptcy. All of those statistics about how many small business end in failure are due to a team that did not work efficiently together. They didn't respond fast enough to market trends. They are not aggressive enough. They left the marketing plan on Dropbox for too long and another company stole the limelight. There's a swell that moved in like a dark cloud, killing all success.

I've lived this. I've worked on teams that were terribly unproductive. There were times when I stuck around for too long and didn't realize that it was up to me to engineer my own success, and part of the engineering process is to cut myself loose.

How about you? Are you stuck in a dead-end job? Have you run into problems with acquiring new customers for your startup? Have the investment funds dried up? It's a good idea to look around the room. The path to success is either populated with team members who help you reach that milestone or it is blocked by team members who don't seem to know any better. You're to blame if you don't make a change.