There are not many times when you are given the chance to build a team from the ground up. Most of the time we inherit people and you have to determine if they fit into this new design. These folks can sometimes feel like puzzle pieces that somehow got thrown into the wrong box. They are the same size and shade but you just know when you dump the pieces out on the table that these two or three, well um…don’t belong here. They go with another perfectly good puzzle just not this one.
What do you do? Do you design a team around them (the chicken part of the analogy) or do you design your optimal team ignoring these folks and let the cards fall where they may (the egg part of this equation)?
A mentor once told me “Never design a team around the current team members. Design your team for what the organization needs first and plug the people in second.” I will be honest, that can be hard. It is easy to fall into the trap of settling for good enough. There is less effort in this and less confrontation to deal with. However, the pain in the long run will be much greater because the output will be mediocre.
So how do you build a culture of teamwork and at the same time ensure you have the right team? How long do you assess before you cut? How do you know when to train and when to part ways? These are not simple questions. As leaders we need to take a holistic approach and demand excellence and not just output. I contend that as leaders if we want to build a culture that disrupts the status quo, one that impacts our industry the egg must come first. We must be willing to assemble our teams with excellence in mind.