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6 Keys to a Winning Team

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Selecting the right people (or “getting the right people on the bus”) is just the start of building a successful team. In order for your team to become a winning team, you need to have the following elements:

1.      Strong Leadership

If your team isn’t guided by strong leadership, the result will be like having a ship without a rudder. Strong leadership is crucial.

The style of leadership isn’t as important as the quality of leadership. The hallmark of a strong leader is passion and responsibility. People always respond well to leaders who are passionate about their jobs, their businesses, or their lives. It’s contagious; the team members will find themselves motivated to perform at their best when led by a passionate leader.

In addition to being passionate, leaders need to be responsible. A strong leader is one who will accept responsibility for the actions of the entire team. They must also be able to make decisions in a decisive manner. This means assuming responsibility for the decisions made and the consequences that follow as a result. It’s the ability to follow through that counts—being able to see the consequences of managerial decisions through to the very end and to assume full responsibility for them.

As a leader, you must create excellent people in your business. You must help them to grow so your business can grow. By inspiring and encouraging them, they will in turn inspire and encourage your customers, who will bring in the business.

Keep your team’s knowledge updated and work harder on yourself than you do on your job. Remember, you always get the people you deserve. Become a great leader and you will get great people.

2.      Common Goal

It is important to set a common goal and to tell your team members what the goal of your business is. You can’t expect them to achieve results if they don’t know what the overall goal is that they must be aiming for.

It all starts with your Vision. The Vision must be regarded as the central aim that is supported by all your team members. It inspires them to do things they have to do to achieve their own individual goals. From the Vision, you develop your Mission Statement.

Your goals are more specific activities that, when achieved, help you accomplish your mission and fulfill your vision. By setting goals, you give your business direction and focus as well as movement and momentum. Everyone needs to have goals that collectively help the business progress in the direction of its ultimate vision.

3.      Rules of the Game

Setting the rules of the game (or the standards and norms of your company’s culture) means telling your team members what they can and can’t do. You need to create the playing field. All team members must know the rules, which must be written down and accessible. Without rules, it’s more likely they’ll go outside the boundaries. Your rules will affect your culture and vice versa.

4.      Action Plan

The first thing you need to do here is to give all team members a position description. They need to know what their jobs entail and what their responsibilities are. Spell them out in clear, unambiguous terms.

Next, develop a strategy that lays down how results are to be achieved and why certain things are done.

Third, you need a tactic that spells out how results will be achieved.

Once you’ve done that, you then need to develop systems by which your team achieves results, and you need to tell them who is doing what by when.

5.      Support Risk Taking

You must be willing to take risks. If you don’t, your team will always lag behind and will not push boundaries. Remember, your business is like a tree; it’s either growing or it’s dying. There is no middle ground. It can’t stand still.

If the owner doesn’t encourage the team to take business risks, the business will progress conservatively toward its goals. The company will most likely never develop anything unique and will not be considered an innovator. On the other hand, people who work for companies that reward their team members for innovation or improvements feel invigorated, stimulated, and appreciated in the workplace.

6.      100 Percent Involvement/Inclusion

You need to make sure everyone on the team is involved, and this involvement must be 100 percent by 100 percent of the team members. If you’ve implemented the first five points, this should happen automatically. 

Your team members are the most important assets to your business. Start developing your own leadership skills and putting processes in place now to build your dream team.


Heather Yakes is an internationally recognized business coach and employee engagement expert ranking in the Top 10 in the U.S. & Top 100 worldwide. Heather is the recipient of the 2016 Business Excellence Awards Coach of the Year, the 2018 ActionMan Award for the Best Client Impact, and the 2018 Franchisee of the Year Award. She has 20+ years of experience working with Fortune 500 Companies and Big 4 Consulting.