I have been very fortunate to have worked on, played on and led some amazing teams, both in my personal life and in my career. The term ‘dream team’ is used as an aspirational statement and, if we are honest, over used to the point where most people would probably state they are on one! Read any technology company’s ‘About Us’ page and you’ll see words such as ‘hard working, smart, driven, fun’ – all of which give the impression of a ‘dream team’. But is that really what makes a ‘dream team?’

From a young age I played competitive sports and was always a firm believer that winning was the only possible option when I took to the field. Sadly, that didn’t always work out, but what I realized was that horrible feeling of losing felt more manageable when I played for certain teams. At the time, I put this down to playing with better players. On those teams when we lost, I chalked it up to being just one of those days, or assumed that because I was playing with close friends we helped each other overcome the pain of any loss. However, taking this same ‘winning’ mentality into the business world I realized that I suffered those same feelings when we had disappointing quarters or months.

It wasn’t until a sales leader I worked with – still a mentor today – explained why our team worked better even when we lost: joint accountability. When things got rough, we all took ownership on what would make us better tomorrow. If someone stepped out of line, a team member would call it out way before our “coach” would have a chance to bark orders. With a shared vision, a clear focus, enjoyment and most importantly success we were able to flourish as a team. As soon as I understood this, I implemented this process in both my sales team, and my Saturday rugby team. I also looked at how I could ensure this became repeatable and helped my managers build this approach into their teams.

As a sales leader with traveling global account reps, it’s crucial that I help my team operate as a dream team. We do the right things and have the discipline to do them even when no one is watching because we are accountable to each other. Building this culture of accountability involves employee engagement otherwise you will end up at best as a Level 2 team.

My three tips to becoming a “dream team”:

  1. Set-up a session to ask the team what they feel are the core values for a successful team. This allows you to set expectations
  2. Appoint ‘Guardians of the Culture’. These people support reinforcement of the expectations set and allow you as the manager to share their positive examples of addressing accountability concerns.
  3. Lead by example – demonstrate your belief in the system and expectations with your actions and stories on how the ‘set expectations’ are driving success.

So when people ask me in an interview what the culture here at Huddle is like, I tell them we are team that holds each other accountable for our victories and failures, and this drives us towards continued success and improvement. That is the definition of a ‘dream team’.

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