5 Ways to Build A Winning Team

Some teams are good but some teams are great. Some teams work hard to get the job done and some win with a mesmerizing ease. What’s the difference in a group of people and a winning team? How do we get on one – better yet – how do we build one? What tools do you use? There are 5 ways to build a winning team. Let’s talk about it.


1. Use Your Feedback

Feedback is vital. It’s up to the leader to let people know where they stand. Offering continuous feedback is a dying discipline. Many leaders are willing to wait for the annual review or until a critical mistake is made to offer performance insights. This is the equivalent of seeing a hole in a vessel before it’s maiden voyage but not saying anything until the ship is sinking. At some level leaders who offer little to no feedback are a liable for the devastation their silence causes.

Effective leaders offer personal feedback and let their teams know who the star players are. When we identify top performers and where the organization would be without them we highlight what is expected and celebrated. You cultivate what you celebrate. The things you bring attention to, the things you offer feedback on, the things you celebrate will be the things other team members repeat. Likewise, without recognition star performers become disconnected and the team looses its champion.

Offering continuous feedback is a dying discipline. Share on X

You cultivate what you celebrate. Share on X

2. Use Your Time

Spend a majority of your time with your top performers. Reject the notion of the squeaky wheel getting the oil. Of the time you have to spend with your team, consider using the 75-20-5 Rule.

  • Spend 75% of your time with your top performers.
    The return on investment from this group can be immeasurable to the team and organization.
  • Spend 20% of your time with your middle performers.
    Commit to coaching and mentoring this group into excellence. Your job isn’t to only have A players. But to increase your C players to B players and B players to A players.
  • Spend 5% of your time with the poor performers.
    The leader’s responsibility to this group is simply to help them find where they will be more successful, even if it’s with another team or organization.

Unfortunately the opposite is true in most organizations. Leaders get caught in the trap of spending a majority of their time with their worst performing team members which leaves no time to mentor the core or acknowledge the top. Refusing to address low performers sabotages the mission of the entire team.

It's not your job to have all A players. You must increase the C's to B's and the B's to A's. Share on X

75-20-5 Time Rule: Spend 75% w/ the top, 20% w/ the middle and 5% w/ the poor performers. Share on X

3. Use Your Vision

Leaders are many things but at the end of the day they are the carriers of the vision. If you’re the only one that knows where you’re going, you’re the only one that’s going to get there. Team success is a relay sport. If you cross the finish line alone, you still lose. There’s no such thing as a winning team without a unified direction.

The power of vision (where you’re going) and strategy (how you’re getting there) cannot be under communicated. As Bill Hybels says, “Vision leaks.” Therefore, it’s up to the leader to refill it and refill it often. If 24 hours have passed since you’ve communicated the vision then you already have vision drift.

Vision leaks but results anchor. The moment you connect desired results to the ultimate vision, you create a clear, specific and executable goal.

If only you know where you're going, only you will know when you get there Share on X

Vision leaks but results anchor. Share on X

4. Use Your Permission

To be more specific, your team needs your permission to explore. They need to know that it’s OK to have an idea different than yours. Few are willing to offer ideas or suggestions that may appear counter or contradictory to the leader.

Without express permission to dream teams never mature to their full potential. Team members often lock away their best ideas under the guise of loyalty. Withholding game changing ideas doesn’t demonstrate loyalty but detriment to the mission of the team.

It is every leader’s job to mine the ideas from those around them, not simply tout their own.

Without express permission to dream teams never mature to their full potential. Share on X

It is every leader's job to mine the ideas from those around them, not simply tout their own. Share on X

5. Use Your Celebration

Leaders must not underestimate the power of celebrating the small wins on the way to achieving the big ones. Teams that get cards and cupcakes after a win or celebrate when a team member accomplishes a milestone create a contagious culture of success. Celebrating teaches people what it feels like to win. Furthermore, celebrating the win makes you want to win more.

There’s also a second layer here. Teams who celebrate wins together create other teams who celebrate wins together. Team members who leave or connect with other teams spread this culture thus impacting the entire organization. Imagine an environment where everyone knows what it feels like and thrives on the win.

Celebrating teaches people what it feels like to win. Share on X

The best run organizations are helmed by the best run teams so go forth and make kick-butt teams!


– Avery