Armies with the best soldiers usually win wars, and sports teams with the best athletes usually win championships. Everyone knows how important it is to pick the right people for a team, yet this is an area where leaders woefully fall short. Far too often team members are selected because of empire building and politics rather than skills and experience. A simple way to determine whether a team or group is staffed properly is for leaders to ask themselves these five right questions:
- Does the team have the right number of people?
- Does the team have the right structure?
- Do team members have the right skills?
- Are team members in the right roles?
- Are people on the team for the right reasons?
Overly inclusive or empire building leaders often make the mistake of having too many people on a team, which has a negative impact on team efficiency and effectiveness. Many leaders also make the mistake of organizing their teams around their favorites rather than letting the nature of the work drive team structure. Sometimes, members do not have the right skills or are not in the right roles, which also has a negative impact on the team’s ability to win. Team performance usually suffers whenever anyone is on the team solely because of favoritism or political expedience.
Although leaders can ask themselves the five right questions at any time, it is best to do this after team context and goals have been determined, as these are critical determinants of team talent. Leaders who answer these questions before team context and goals are set are usually just making rationalizations for their favorites.
By Gordon Curphy
Curphy Consulting Corporation
Guest blogger and co-author of The Rocket Model