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Ideal Team Player



Have you ever been challenged with the task of hiring someone? It could be a new employee, team member, or even a babysitter. What did you look for when you examined their resume? Were you looking for past experience, education or specific skills? On what grounds did you decide to hire or not hire them? Did you hire them because they 'seemed' really nice? Is nice good enough?

In Patrick Lencioni's book, "The Ideal Team Player" he talks about the three key personality traits of the Ideal Team Player.  He says that ideal team players have three things in common, "they are hungry, humble and smart.". What does that mean? 

Humble: As C.S Lewis said, "being humble is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less". Have they displayed humility?

Hungry: To be passionate for their purpose or cause. They desire to do more and be more. Have they demonstrated hunger?

Smart: Have a strong emotional intelligence and ability to work with others. Are they smart with people? 




As many of you know, a lot of the work I do is with teams. Many organizations hire me to help diagnose the health and wellness of their teams. I use the hungry, humble, smart diagram to plot every team member on the grid to determine where the team is vs. where the team wants to go. From there, we can determine what factors need to be considered, worked on or changed to optimize the teams performance. 

Several months ago, I was working with a sales team that was struggling. During the initial discovery period I found that many of the sales representatives were very kind and compassionate people. I could tell that the team got along well, everyone liked each other, were very respectful of one another and their roles on the team. Their manager however couldn't figure out why the team couldn’t achieve their goals. Month after month the company would send out sales incentives and some team members would hit the goal while other equally smart and likable people could barely hit the minimum.

What we discovered is that to be an ideal team player, it takes much more than just being a likeable person. In this specific sales role it requires the ability to think of your customers needs before your commission. It takes the ability to communicate and connect with your existing customers as well as with your potential customers. It also requires initiative to go out and meet others to share what the company has to offer as opposed to waiting for customers to come to them. 

These characteristics of a successful sales person became a blueprint for the hiring manager. We were able work together on identifying what he was looking for in an ideal team member, why he was looking for those qualities and how to identify them in potential new hires. 

In business, being nice isn't enough. To hire the ideal team member you need to understand what you are looking for, why you are looking for it and how to identify it. Understanding the concept of humble, hungry and smart is just the start. 

I challenge you this week to plot out the members in your different teams and include yourself. How can you take the lead in helping others develop so that they can become an IDEAL team player?

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