Killer Series – 7 Steps to Building a Killer Team

Have you ever watched a high-performing team in action? Better yet, have you ever been a part of a high-performing team?

I don’t how many of you watched the show that the Chinese put together for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games but I can tell you it was truly a spectacular sight and accomplishment. This was the pinnacle of a high-performing team in action – what I like to call a Killer Team. The pure energy and masterful synchronicity was absolutely impeccable. They were fluid and flawless during every show and absolutely electrifying with every move. It was definitely a sight to behold and if you didn’t have the opportunity to see it, I can say without a doubt that you missed something very special.

I don’t know what they will do when the games hit London in 2012 but I do know they’ve got their work cut out for them.

I have had the opportunity to experience the difference between a Killer Team and a team that gets killed. It is always a much happier, more productive, more efficient and more creative scene when you are on a Killer Team – as if that’s not obvious. It is so much more powerful that my ultimate goal when working with a team is to be a part of and cultivate a Killer Team. This is of the utmost importance the moment you begin to work in multiples.

Whether you are leading or are a part of a team, this should be your ultimate goal. Everything else that the team accomplishes rests with the way they are able to work together. It will be next to impossible to achieve any result of great value if your team is not working together. If some of you are pushing while others are pulling, it will create negative energy and in some cases wreak havoc on the whole team. Contrary to the popular belief – opposites do not attract, especially when it comes to teams.

Like-mindedness is essential for team success; the goal of the team must be the focus of every team member in order to achieve the best results. That being said, following are my best ideas on what it takes to build a Killer Team. I’ve broken it down into 7 steps that you can begin to apply immediately and achieve immediate and positive results.

1. Embody the mission This is something that will come up over and over again on this website in some context or another. So many people embark on new journeys, start new projects or new relationships without ever creating a mission for what they want to achieve. It is actually ludicrous when you think about it; see yourself in your mind’s eye getting ready to do something or go somewhere without knowing exactly what it is you are trying to accomplish.

Does that make sense? Of course it doesn’t. That would only make sense to a moron and I know that’s not you.

So then, the first step in building a Killer Team is to embody the mission. Embodying the mission though means several things. In order to be one with your team mission, every member must be willing to commit to it without wavering; you must all see it through together.

Several things occur when a mission has been embodied successfully.

Creating and living the mission – when the whole team is involved in creating the mission, it makes them feel like they are a part of something greater than themselves. Their values become a part of the whole which makes it personal and therefore automatically commands more commitment. It is a lot easier to live a mission that you created than it is to live someone else’s; in fact I’d say it’s damn near impossible to live a mission you didn’t have a hand in creating. This is absolutely essential if you want your team to fully embrace the mission – be one with it. You must all be involved in the creation of it and then you must all live it every single day for maximum impact.

Clarity in purpose – nothing beats the knowledge of destiny. When you know exactly what you want to achieve and precisely where you’re going, it’s pretty difficult to miss the mark. At that point you only have to choose the right vehicles to get you to your destination – to your goal. A purpose-driven goal is one destined for success. Once every team member is clear on what the purpose is, expectations are aligned and focus is singular. This creates power beyond your imagination and productivity skyrockets under these conditions.

Roles & responsibilities defined – this cannot be stressed enough. I’ve seen so many teams implode because the members have no clue what each is supposed to be doing. This is what creates chaos on a team and breeds frustration that lead to conflicts that lead to undesired or disastrous results. It is absolutely imperative that roles and responsibilities are clear and that each team member knows not only what he or she is supposed to be doing but also exactly what each of the other team members are supposed to be doing. This is important in order to achieve maximum efficiency and efficacy. It allows your team to execute at a high level with the least effort. No double work!

The tie that binds – this is what embodiment of a mission does; it creates a deep bond among those who’ve created and are indeed living it. This is a very important element as you will see in the next step, Cultivate Synergy. If you create a mission together, live it daily together and commit together to see it through, this creates a powerful and almost unbreakable bond. It creates unshakable focus and through your commitment, it crystallizes your purpose – the team’s purpose.

2. Cultivate Synergy Synergy is supremely important for any team to function at its peak. This is the pinnacle of togetherness in a common cause. When a team is synergized, each move they make is like flowing water; they move in fluidity and synchronized harmony. It’s really a beautiful thing to experience and if you have, you know exactly what I am talking about.

Cultivating synergy requires transparency and openness among all the team members. It requires the desire to listen with the intent to first understand each other and also the courage to state your point of view. It requires that, when trying to resolve issues or come up with solutions where you do not all agree, that you always seek Third Alternative which is a solution derived from all the desires combined to create a better solution than any of the individual ideas – it promotes and demands win/win.

Furthermore, cultivating synergy also requires that you cherish teamwork in all facets and eliminate competition – at least against each other. Competition among the team can easily, and often does, lead to “I first and team second” and selfishness. This creates the “what’s in it for me” mentality which throws the whole idea of the team purpose right out the window.

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