Mar 222012

What Separates Good Teams from Bad Teams?

What Separates Good Teams from Bad Teams?

Every once in a while, I have a conversation that forces me to distill an idea to a sound bite – those frequently become blog posts.  Many happen with members of my team at Return Path, or my friend Matt on our Saturday morning runs, or my Dad or Mom, or Mariquita.  This one happened at dinner the other night with Mariquita and my in-laws Rick and Carmen.

The subject came up about managing a senior team, and different iterations of teams I’ve managed over the years.  And the specific question we posed was “What are the most significant characteristics that separate good teams from bad teams?”  Here’s where the conversation went…“I believe that 100% of the members of good teams can, 100% of the time”

  1. Get outside of themselves.  They have no personal agenda, only the best interests of the company, in mind.  They make every effort to see issues on which they disagree from the opposing point of view
  2. Understand the difference between fact and opinion.  As my friend Brad says, “The plural of anecdotes is not data.”  And as Winston Churchill said, “Facts are stubborn things.”  If everyone on a team not only understands what is a fact and what is not a fact, AND all team members are naturally curious to understand and root out all the relevant facts of an issue, that’s when the magic happens

Of course there are many other characteristics or checklists of characteristics that separate good teams from bad teams.  But these feel to me like pretty solid ones – at least a good starting point for a conversation around the conference room table.