Your team will make or break your project

Business Coaching, Education, Job Market

In ‘Built to Last’ Collins and Porras set out to study twenty ‘visionary’ companies: companies that have stood the test of time, that have outlived the average lifespan of a company and ‘left an indelible imprint on our world’. Companies like Disney and 3M and Proctor and Gamble. They discover that  fundamental to the success of these companies is their investment in the company itself, the people or the team rather than in any one product, mechanism or service.

Here’s an example: if an organisation wanted to communicate the time on a regular basis to the inhabitants of a town, it could employ the services of a ‘time teller’, an individual with a very loud voice who would shout out the time every hour on the hour. Alternatively they could build a clock, a big one and display it high on a tower in the centre of the town. Which of these strategies is likely to prove most effective over the long term? Of course, the clock. That is, a system which does not rely on any one person (charismatic or otherwise) or on favourable weather (market) conditions or on individual talent. For Collins and Porras in this analogy, the system (the clock) is the people: literally, the company, the people at the heart of the organisation. If these people are working effectively together then the business or organisation will keep ‘ticking’ long after many other startups and noisy one hit wonders have come and gone.

So what is it that makes an effective, dynamic team?

I’ve recently become accredited with a ground breaking new tool called the GC Index.  According to their extensive study there are five key players in a dynamic, game changing team: the Strategist, the Implementer, the Polisher, the Play Maker and the Game Changer. Most people have two dominant proclivities but many usually do not have a clear idea of what they are. If individuals in the team do not know and understand their strengths and weaknesses then the team will be dysfunctional. Like every player in a football team trying to play striker. I’ve watched my kids primary school football team and, believe me, it doesn’t work!

Some teams are Implementer heavy and lack the creativity and imagination of Game Changers. This makes for ‘business as usual’, however without someone challenging and asking the uncomfortable questions it’s likely that such a team will miss opportunities to diversify and stay relevant.

Some teams have too many Strategists and Game Changers… lots of ideas but nothing ever gets done! Every team needs the outcome-focused attention to detail of Implementers and Polishers.

Equally, if people in the team are not playing to their strengths they will quickly become demotivated and lose their energy. They’ll look elsewhere for more rewarding work. Fundamentally if your core team is not self aware it won’t function properly and will falter. Have a look at or give me call if you’d like to know more.

I’m also working with a version of the GC Index adapted for young people.  This is designed to help students identify their preferred way of operating as they make some of the big career and study decisions. More on this next time. But have a look at if you’re interested.

Henry Ford said, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”

Do you need to do some self analysis? How much time effort are you putting into your team? It’s likely to be the most significant thing you do all year!