Success is a Team Sport

By: Ken Keis

"The speed of the person is the speed of the team."
-Lee Iacocca, Past President of Chrysler Corp

Success is a Team Sport

The speed and degree of our personal/business success is always influenced by the team that surrounds or supports us.

ē Team: a number of persons associated in work or activity; a group on the same side of a match.

As my personal and business experience continues to grow, lifeís truths are becoming more evident. In recent weeks, I have been reminded of the critical importance of having the right team in all areas of my life.

When I say team, I mean everyone who, in one way or another, supports you and your family -- your dentist, doctor, financial planner, bank manager, accountant, lawyer, mechanic, music teacher, realtor, teacher, school staff, church congregation, your employees, etc. Our life is a reflection of the goals we have and the friends and counsel we keep -- ALL our advisors.

Are all your team members on your side? Do they represent your goals, your objectives, and your values?

ē Is your accountant as interested in providing you with legal and creative ways to protect and grow your wealth and your assets as he/she is in complying with the tax laws?

ē Is your doctor more interested in your sickness than your total health and lifestyle needs?

Quite frankly, we sometimes get lazy and just accept what we have -- because we think it is too much of a bother to change. Wrong, wrong, wrong!

I suspect that almost everyone reading this article has a team member -- personally or professionally -- who is not exactly the person you want but you have tolerated him/her because of the effort involved in finding someone else.

Recently my dentist of 35 years retired and sold his practice. Change is difficult, so when I went for my regular check-up with the new person, I used my previous dentist (with whom I was extremely happy) as a comparison. I immediately felt uncomfortable with the new dentist. His style, mannerisms, and attitudes did not fit what I wanted and needed in a professional. But I kept going back for two years, feeling the same uneasiness and lack of confidence.

At first I blamed myself for not liking the change and that time would amend my mind. But it did not. Then I used the excuse that it was too much work to find someone else. I became so uncomfortable with this new dentist that I put off my regular checkup for a year. Isnít that crazy -- creating avoidance behavior with a dentist!

Then I learned of a progressive dental practice just down the street from me. I booked and went for my first appointment in 37 years with a different dental practice. Wow! I didnít know what I didnít know. Not only did this practitioner match the values and attitude of my now-retired dentist, he surpassed them. As I left, I thought to myself: Hey, what was the big deal? I should have done this two years ago.

So where in your life do you need to upgrade your team? Why would you accept any team member who is not 100% on your side and who matches your values?

Never, Never, Never, underestimate the power of a mediocre or negative team member! Great Team Members add to your team; mediocre team members take away -- and that costs you more than you might imagine. That is especially true in the business and professional world. Having "okay" team members usually means you have to follow-up, baby-sit, and check-up on them. "Great" team members are leading the way; you have to move over so you donít slow them down.

There is nothing more important than having the right people in the right seats on the right bus. And get the wrong people off the bus! Jim Collins confirmed that idea in his book, Good to Great. The research on the most successful organizations identified that having the right team members was more imperative than the direction or vision of the company! Collins says, "Great vision without great people is irrelevant."

He goes on to say, "The right people donít need to be tightly managed and motivated. They will be self-motivated by the inner drive to produce the best results and to be part of something great!"

And you should not settle for anything less -- personally and professionally.

In our world of drive-throughs, microwaves, and instant gratification -- when it comes to individuals and professionals that support you in your personal and professional life -- there is a trend to take what you can get and move on.

I can not state strongly enough how true the foregoing team principles have been for CRG during our transformation over the past three years. From internal staff to outside contractors, whenever we compromised and settled for okay rather than Great, we paid dearly.

The following are mediocre team situations. (Definitely not Great!)
ē You constantly have to ask your doctor to think of prevention and health rather than illness.
ē You have to ask your accountant if he or she has considered all your tax savings, investment, and asset protection strategies.
ē You need to remind your lawyer to ensure that all your liability exposures are covered.
ē You must remind your financial planner to do a full review of your entire financial plan and objectives -- including, but not limited to, retirement, insurance, growth, risk, estate planning, etc.

Your current team members reflect the quality of the investment you have made, in time and resources -- to attract, screen, and hire them. Having the right person on the right bus in the right seat does not happen by accident. Before you can attract or hire/engage the right person, you must establish who the right person is -- in terms of your values, your style, and the desired competencies.

During a recent teleseminar, one of my Associates outlined a brilliant strategy. She conducts a full "entrance interview" with every single supplier, vendor, professional, or team member with whom she intends to work, including her financial planner, stockbroker, etc.

When she gets to the short list, she asks those individuals to complete assessments to confirm her choice and help the potential team member work more effectively with her.

ē Each candidate completes the Personal Style Indicator (PSI) so that the Associate can understand the new personís style. She asks the individual to read her style patterns, too, to better understand her preferences.
ē Candidates also complete the Values Preference Indicator (VPI), to confirm their values and clearly understand her values.
ē She uses the Job Style Indicator (JSI) for any internal or contract positions she is offering, to ensure that the nature of the person matches the nature of the position.

When I asked if she has found value in this process, she said she would not engage or hire a new team without it. It has meant going from a good to a Great Team, with more understanding, improved communications, and increased results -- with less conflict, less stress, and less failure. Who doesnít want those results?

In the end, we are only as successful as the team members surrounding and supporting us. If you already have the right team, you know that it provides peace of mind and a positive energy difficult to describe.

Donít settle for less. Expect the best and put a process in place to achieve this outcome. Get the wrong people off the bus because they are poison to your success. And they are taking up valuable space.

When should you start this process?

Right now!

Action Steps

Success is a Team Sport

1. Did you know your success is reflective of the quality of your team members -- personally and professionally?
2. Are you 100% happy with your personal team -- your doctor, accountant, financial planner, etc.? Who would you like to replace and why? Make a list.
3. Are you 100% happy with your professional team -- your employees, coworkers, suppliers, vendors, etc.? Who would you like to replace and why? Make a list.
4. Are negative team members currently draining your energy and resources? If so, it is time to upgrade!
5. Outline the profile of the right team member for you, in every area of need for you. Document your entire list. If you think this is too much work, you donít understand the cost of not doing this.
6. Design an interview process with questions to ask all potential team members about their roles.
7. Once you have short-listed, consider using a assessment process, having each potential team member complete the Personal Style Indicator, Values Preference Indicator, and Job Style Indicator on the position.
8. Review and share the results with the potential team member. If there is no fit, itís better to know now than six months from now, when you have to start again.
9. Commit to attracting the right people who will match you and your goals, dreams, and values.
10. Start your selection process right now, but donít compromise with an okay player. You want a Great Team Member! Finding excellence can take time.
11. When this is done, enjoy the feelings and excitement that come from having a Great Team on your side.

Until next time, keep Living On Purpose,

Ken Keis

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Ken Keis is an internationally known author, speaker, consultant, & President of CRG. Many professionals herald CRG as the # 1 global resource center for Personal/Professional Development. For information on CRG Resources, please visit

For information on Kenís Training and Speaking Programs, please visit

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