What does it take to build a world-class team?

Not just in business, but in every aspect of our lives? New York Times Bestselling Author, Daniel Coyle, went on a multi-year journey to get to the bottom of this question. He studied the U.S Navy Seals, top NBA basketball teams, and world-class teams from IDEO and discovered a common pattern within all of these studies.

This is a never-ending journey that I'm going through with my own company, Rype. I sat down with Daniel to learn how we can all improve our team's culture through simple and actionable steps.

Listen to this full interview with Daniel on how he came up with the research, what he discovered, and more.

"We tend to think that great culture is like DNA - some groups have it and some don't. As it turns out, that's not true. Great culture is something you can learn." -Daniel Coyle

For those of you that want the highlights, here are the 3 main factors he discovered. 

1. Build Safety

The first thing that surprised me during my conversation with Daniel is that great culture can be learned. It's not an inherent DNA that founders are born to create.

Safety is the most important foundation to establish in order for the other two factors to function properly. When employees or managers don't feel safe, it creates barriers and limitations within the organization. It leads to employees playing it safe when they should be encouraged to experiment and innovate.

When Daniel contrasted a group of kindergartners versus CEO's trying to accomplish a task, the former was far more effective. The reason being, there was no pre-set agenda or egos that kindergartners had to overcome. All they cared about was getting to the right answer. 

Action step: Be overly generous with complementing your team members, even if it feels excessive. Doing this is far more beneficial than not saying 'thank you' enough when it most matters.

2. Share Vulnerability

The second step to building a world-class culture is to be vulnerable. The way to do this effectively is to lead by example and share your mistakes upfront. Make it as clear as possible for everyone in the team to hear.

When the leader confronts his or her own faults, it enables the rest of the team to feel safe to do the same. 

Action step: In your next meeting, own up to your mistakes, and be conscious of listening first before responding with your own thoughtsIn other words, allow others to control the conversation when necessary.

3. Establish Purpose

As we all know, having a common aligned purpose is what great teams thrive on. Without a common mission, it's going to be an obstacle to overcome the inevitable difficult times that are thrown your way. 

Action step: When in doubt, over communicate the vision and repeat it as much as you possibly can. As you scale your team, you'll eventually enable your team members to communicate the company's purpose to new members.

Over the long run, world-class teams will always outperform the product or service that's being presented. What are you doing to build a great culture in your business?

Published on: Mar 19, 2018