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Photo by Jim Marsden. Do Wales 2019.

How do teams win, even when the odds are against them? It is not complex, just hard. There are humans involved.

1, Who you hire will decide everything.

No news here. Move on.

2, How you hire will decide who you hire.

Your hiring framework will decide your success.

It’s essential to know.

You can’t train for:

1. Kindness.

2. Optimism.

3. Integrity.

4. Grit.

5. Curiosity.

6. Work ethic.

7. Care for others.

If you can’t train for it, then you must hire for it.

You can train for.

1, Skills.

2, Capabilities.

3, Process.

4, Technique.

In the hiring process, the soft skills are more important than you think. Because people either have them, or they do not.

Danny Meyer has a system of hiring 51 percenters. Hire for emotional intelligence. Train for skills.

3, Radical honesty delivered at speed, and with deep care.

You have to create conditions for honesty to thrive.

At first, not everyone will be comfortable with this approach.

But, for a team to win, a culture of honest feedback, delivered at speed, and without getting personal, allows for standards to rise quickly.

Once the team gets used to having difficult conversations, they become less difficult.

Then, the energy of the team is directed to only getting better.


These stop progress.

The un-said.

The un-improved.

Un-altered behaviour.

As they say, honesty does pay.

4, Team first.

The rarest team to form is the selfless team. It is also the most potent.

When a team comes together and decides that all that matters is the central purpose, it becomes unstoppable.

Then every action, every breath, every thought goes to make that happen, and everyone is aligned, then that team is unstoppable.

It can beat the odds. It can punch way above its weight.

So, the true battle in a team is to put the ego to one side, and for the team to come first.

When those conditions are present, the team can beat anyone.

Remember, the ego will not leave without a fight.

5, Clear Purpose.

Understand this. A team needs to know what change they are going to make in this world.

It is fuel, grit and passion for the journey.

It is meaning.

It is the belief that there is, or soon will be, a better way to do this.

“No why. No fuel.”

6, A safe place to challenge each other.

Behind a closed door, the team can disagree, without being disagreeable.

The team always has each other’s back.

The team knows if you can’t say it to their face, you can’t say it behind their back.

The team can push each other. But always with the intent to raise standards, to make a forward step.

To make someone feel small takes an even smaller person.

Honesty doesn’t need vinegar.

7, Never Settle.

Each day the team must seek to find a better way.

The relentless pursuit of progress comes from the team, not a handbook.

The role of the team is to raise the standards.

The team must be haunted by this:

“If we don’t find a better way today, our rivals will.”

8, Follow Through.

The team respects words with action.

There is a commitment effect.

‘Say it. Do it.’

9, O Captain. My Captain.

The captain defines the team.

They do not have to be good at giving speeches or talking to the press.

They can hide in the shadows.

They can be awkward.

Socially inept.

And rarely are they the most skilled on the team.

No matter.

They are there to set the standards.

They will not allow them to drop.

For anyone. For any reason. No exceptions.

Because those standards define them as a captain.

That is who they are.


Management often picks the wrong captain.

They choose easy. Easy don’t build great.

10, Change a little. Change a lot.

Never underestimate the power of this question: How can we get better today than we were yesterday?

Most people ignore the small things they can do because they don’t offer a big enough result.

Instead, they seek to attempt to hit the ball out of the part. Take the big swing. Go for glory. But the power of the incremental gain overtime provides a better result.

The compounding effect of trying to get better by 1% a day is enormous.

Compounded each day it is 3,800% per year.

That’s 37 times better than where you started in just one year.

11, If You Fail, I Fail.

The team looks after its own. If someone is struggling, it is the team’s job to help them.

The team checks each other’s work, not to find fault, but to help improve.

Give advice. Give your learning away freely. But give.

For the team to win, it can’t leave anyone behind.

12, Walk and Talk.

At some point, you will hit a wall.

What worked, stops.

In that case, do something that is not a brainstorm. That doesn’t involve a computer or a whiteboard.

If there is a problem to solve, then go on a walk.

If there is a big problem to solve, then choose a longer walk.

At 4 mph, the brain thinks differently.

13, We have enough of your Time.

Rest is important.

We have no right to ask you to work more than 40 hours. That is more than enough.

One of the perks of working here is we will protect you from dumb meetings.

We will provide a space for deep work.

We will say no to everything that is not the ‘main thing’.

A culture of working longer usually means a lack of focus.

14, Fun.

Doing your best work is rarely easy. You will have to push yourself.

That can often feel like the opposite of fun.

Learning new ways comes with varying degrees of discomfort.

On the other hand, comfort zones are often thought of as fun. But that is a place where dreams go to die.

Fun is not a pool table at work. Fun is not M+M’s in reception.

Fun is pride. Fun is learning. Fun is doing something you didn’t think that you could.

Fun is doing your life’s work.

Fun is reaching your potential.

To achieve what you are capable of.

The team is here to help you do that.

If you let it.

“For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.” RK.

Do Team Workshop.

After nearly two years, I have finally persuaded Hilary Gallo to do this workshop.

How difficult conversations build amazing businesses.

The Encouragement Network |

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