Dream Teams Don't Just Happen, They Are Created! The Top 4 Things You Need to Know!
I create dream teams.
That’s a ballsy thing to say, maybe.
But I do and I freakin' love it. Because when it works! It's magic and there’s really nothing like working in the hum of that type of environment.
Looking back on some of the gigs that I've had if anyone can speak to how to create a DREAM TEAM and what that should look and feel like it's me. I've been doing it since before I even knew I was doing it...
Let me explain.
In university, I was all about Intramural sports. From year one, I played them religiously. I knew all the people, learned how the system worked from the inside out. I loved playing. My second or third year, I organized all the female sports, while two lad friends of mine headed up the men’s side. That year, we had the highest turnout of women playing Intramurals at our college. My last year of university, I became the President of Intramural Athletics at my college. That year we won the Intramural torch, which was a big ass trophy that was put on display in my college's bar. At the time, it was the highest achievement amongst the colleges. An achievement (bragging rights and a party!) our college hadn't had the honour of having in 20 years. Twenty years!!?? Yup... I did that.
It was quite an accomplishment at the time. But I had a goal. I wanted it. I was hella focused + organized. But I definitely couldn't have done it by myself. I needed people who operated at a certain level. I needed people who saw what I saw – that although we were a smaller college that didn’t have the numbers the other colleges did, that we could pull it off. So I sought out people that I had played with previously, people who were I thought were really skilled and had the right attitude, people who I call the ‘best of the best’. More on that later …
And nowadays, interestingly enough, as a Senior Project Manager, I still use those skills. Being able to create a DREAM TEAM could be the key between having the work you do be great or just ‘aight, to being able to pull a project out of the fire. I’ve made my bread and butter on being able to create DREAM TEAMS.
1. What's your 'why?' Clarity of Purpose.
The more clear you are about your role, your goal, or why you're doing what you're doing ... the more the noise just goes away. You know where to focus. You know where to put your energy + how you're going to go about getting the best results. You have a vision of what that looks like, what that feels like. You can see it. You know how far you will go and who you need to be to get it done. Just understanding this one thing alone, is going to up your game, and make you a tighter player because then it's not all about the push and pull of what’s going on around you. This could be anything, from other people’s ideas around what you should be doing to the smaller, more insidious things, like the 15 minute Facebook break that turns into the 1 hour Facebook break... Working in this way, the true power lies with you. You empower yourself. You chart your own course. Think about that … that’s huge. That just doesn’t go for business, peeps, that goes in life as well.
2. You gotta love what you do! (... well, it doesn't hurt!)
I know. I know. I can hear the drones over the internet now ... ;D.
But in all seriousness, when you dig what you're doing, you're automatically operating at a different level — a higher level. You're turned on. You're tuned in. You’re having fun! Everything about you is different — your energy, your confidence, how you communicate, your level of presence, your ability to detect bullsh*t when something's off! Everything. And when you're working from that place, you're going to draw to you the people who are in a similar state of 'edge'. Feel me?!
Now part of that ‘edge’ is knowing your sh*t. You don’t have to know ALL the things, but to operate at a certain level requires that you’re open + that you’re always learning. You’re willing to go above and beyond to gain the knowledge you need not only out of genuine interest + curiosity but so that you’re able to support the team in creating the vision that you’ve set out for yourself and/or for your project.
Now to address all the drones ... time for some straight talk — you may not love EVERYTHING you do, you may even hate what you're doing right now, but the point I'm trying to make is that ultimately, you set the tone. Try to find some aspect of your situation that you can use to elevate yourself, despite whatever else you may be facing. Use THAT as your compass when you find yourself drifting back to old attitudes and energy patterns. Now I’m not gonna lie, this may take some effort + due diligence on your part. It will require you to be consistently present + aware to your state of being, however, consider the alternative. You're the downer, that no one wants to work with – and we've all worked with plenty of those!
3. That being said ... Find people who love what they do.
In my world, these are the people I call ‘the best of the best’. These are people that are not only super skilled + knowledgable in their respective area, but they come with an energy that's just lit up. They're all in, they invest their full energy + passion into the task at hand. These people are high-quality, professional, collaborative, yet low-ego. They work with integrity, and aren’t afraid to challenge you (respectfully!) should the need arise. They are aligned with the vision and see what you see even when the masses are calling you crazy. People who come correct. People who have come to play! Those are the people that I want to work with — ALWAYS.
I love these kinds of people. They have a certain energy about them. I love watching their brains work! There’s a seeming effortlessness + flow to their work when they’re in the zone. Not only are they inspiring to me to work with, but they also inspire others to work at a certain level as well, which is so important when you’re running out of steam yourself (and at times you will!). You may be running the charge, but they’ve got your back and are a true partner. It’s a total game-changer.
4. You lead by example. Are you walking the walk ...?
This is a tough one. It’s a bit of double edge this one … But again, this is all about setting the tone ...
This doesn't mean that you have to be perfect and can't make mistakes. In fact, it's the very opposite. It's OK to be human. It's OK to be vulnerable (both MEN and WOMEN). It's OK to admit fault (again – both MEN and WOMEN). There's some toxic energy in business right now around not being real about things — it’s all about the ‘optics’, as one person once upon a time said to me. And … I get that to a point, however, part of your role as a leader, is to create a safe space — not only for the magic to happen, but also to deal with the not so great stuff when it comes along as well. DREAM TEAMS are cultivated in an environment based on trust + respect. It will be hard to do that for yourself, let alone your team if the external noise takes precedence over holding this safe space. There’s a balance. Yes, you want high-quality, knock-it-outta-the-park work, but at what cost?
The other side of this coin, is what you do + how you are when things aren't going so well ... what type of person are you going to be when the shit does hit the fan? Are you going to be the person that flies off the handle in an office full of people? ... Are you going to passive-aggressively shame someone into correcting their actions? Or are you going to take the ‘tougher’ road, and choose to have a present, face-to-face conversation and address the issue directly, with honesty + respect …? The point I'm trying to make is how + when you decide to take appropriate action will set the tone for how stressful, heck, how any situation is handled on your watch. Holding someone accountable for their actions is never an easy thing to do, but if you want to cultivate a thriving environment (and a successful business/project) it’s gotta be done.
So there you have it, my top 4 recommends for how to create your very own DREAM TEAM. At the end of the day, this is about flipping the script and creating a new standard for what + how we think our teams, working relationships + and our work environments can be like — which if you can’t tell, I’m super passionate about. I want us ALL to love what we do. I want us ALL to feel like we’re working in environments that support the very best aspects of us. And that we ALL have it within us to do something about it! Because baby — that’s when the magic happens!
DREAM TEAMS don’t just happen. They are created!
They take patience, heart, passion and, clarity of purpose to make them succeed. If you want to be a leader of a dream team, you have to earn it.
So what kind of leader are you ..?
Have some thoughts on what I’ve written. I’d love to hear them. Drop me a note below.
Go with heart. Go with love, people!