How to Align a Successful Team: Step 2

First figure out what your team needs to succeed and achieve the goals you have set. THEN decide who will be a good fit for the team!

Last week, we wrote about the first step in aligning a successful team: Have a goal. Without a clear goal or mission, then the team will have no purpose, no idea where it is going. Sounds obvious, right? Sure it does. But in our experience, this seemingly obvious step gets missed all the time. There is often a general sense of the goal, but without specificity, the whole thing gets murky very quickly.

So what is step 2? That is also seemingly easy, but also often missed. Before you build your team, you must ask yourself this:

What will this team need to be successful?

What skills/attitudes/work ethic/etc will we need to have on this team, if we are going to achieve our goal?

You need to know your goal. But you also then need to know what will be required to achieve that goal. What are the critical success factors? What skills must your team have? Many teams and team leaders skip this kind of planning, and immediately start naming names of people for the team. “Oh, we should get __________ to work with us. He/she would be great!” But if you have not yet determined what your team needs, then how will you know if that person will in fact be great? The net result of this step, is that it forces you to take a good look about what the team will need to be successful. It allows you to leave the emotion aside, and not even consider names until you know what you are looking for.

Once you have done this, you can then begin thinking about specific names to fill your team. But your choices will be better because you will know what you are hiring for. Think about this… would you ever hire someone to work for your company without first thinking about and posting a job description? Of course you wouldn’t. But when building teams inside organizations, people make that mistake all the time. In other words, determine what you need before you start filling in names. If you do this correctly, you frequently will realize that someone who you would have immediately thought of as a great choice actually does not give you what you need. And often, your process will lead you to someone you never would have even considered.

Have a great day.

At The Latimer Group, our individual Coaching services are highly customized and designed to help you achieve your specific goals. Typical engagements focus on developing skill sets in Leadership Communications, Public Speaking, and Executive-Level Business Presentations. To learn more, e-mail us at


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Dean Brenner

A book about change

The Latimer Group’s CEO Dean Brenner is a noted keynote speaker and author on the subject of persuasive communication. He has written three books, including Persuaded, in which he details how communication can transform organizations into highly effective, creative, transparent environments that succeed at every level.