Join Jeff Weiner for an in-depth discussion in this video Building your team, part of On Leadership by Jeff Weiner.
- From self-awareness, to team awareness, and company awareness, 'cause we've got some of the basic building blocks in place. Three elements of team awareness. The first is building your team, and those team dynamics. The second is reading the room. This is one of those uncanny things, that uncanny abilities that effective leaders have. Is that in the midst of talking, in the midst of saying something powerful, they're also very aware of how that message is being received, and they can course correct. So reading the room becomes enormous in terms of effective leadership. And then last, a little more pragmatic perhaps, meeting dynamics. So in just a few tips, and frames for how to conduct more effective meetings. Okay, with regard to building your team, we talked in self-awareness about the importance of knowing what it is you ultimately want to accomplish, and assessing your own strengths and weaknesses, and then building a team of people that complement your strengths and weaknesses. And the same thing holds, with regard to the team more broadly defined, not just as they relate to you, how they relate to one another. I mentioned my passion for Warrior's basketball earlier, and Steph Curry, how do you think a team of five Steph Currys would perform in the NBA? It would be quite entertaining, but they would be vertically challenged, to say the least. And if they came up against a team that had a lot of height, the defense is going to be a problem. Maybe they make it up on the offensive end, I have no idea, but teams of any kind, whether they're sports team, business teams, the winning teams are comprised of people that complement one another. So it's not just enough to know your own strengths and weaknesses, your own areas for improvement, and your own gifts, it's also important for the team to recognize that in one another. So that team can complement one another in terms of their skills. And it's not just skills, it's also experiences, life experiences and perspectives. And this is one of the reasons we are so focused on DIBS. Typically and historically, a lot of companies start focus on the concept of diversity, that is building a team that is reflective and representative of the people that that team serves. So, for example, for us, it would be our members, and so you want diverse people within your ranks. So you're making arguably better decisions in theory, but if you have the right composition of people, within your organization, and they don't feel like they're included, if they're not invited to the right meetings where the most important decisions are being made, what's the use of having those diverse perspectives? So it's not enough to focus on diversity, you also have to focus on inclusion. But it's not enough to just focus on diversity and inclusion, because if we take this meeting paradigm or metaphor to its full extent, if you recruit a group of people that are reflective of the people you serve and then you invite people to a meeting, so that you have diverse perspectives around the table, and those people look up, and they don't see anyone, that looks or sounds or feels like they do, what's going to happen? They're not going to speak, because they don't feel like they belong. And that is not specific to a corporate environment. There's tons of research that has been done in early stage education, primary schools, and that students perform better, when they look up and see a teacher that looks like they do. It sounds like they do, that is familiar to them. And that's not the only way to do things, obviously, but it speaks to the importance of belonging. When we feel like we belong, we can do our best work. We feel like we don't belong, we get shut down. So it's very important as you're building your team out, you're not just thinking of building a team that complements your own skills, but a team that complements one another's skills, and a team that shares diverse life experiences and perspectives, that will help your organization, your team, make better decisions, better decisions faster. So when you hear about diversity, when you hear about building diverse teams, recognize, it's not just a virtue, it's not just the right thing to do, it's how you maximize the value that your team and company are capable of creating. Okay, two, it's not just about building the team with complementary skills and a diverse team. In my experience, you can have extraordinarily talented people, and you don't look forward to working with them. By way of example, they are so good at what they do, they are so valuable. When they behave badly, when they don't honor your team or your company's culture and values, when they go rogue, no one does anything, because they're adding so much value. People look the other way. Every organization has this. Small startups, large organizations, we all do it. We did it here. And then years and years ago, I kind of realized a very painful lesson, that we should have no tolerance, for people that are not committed to upholding our values and our culture. And it's not just about the what, it's also about the how. And it was around that time that I did, I was in a meeting, I did a little doodle. That team was presenting to me and really good team, really effective team. And they were presenting an idea and a new initiative that they wanted to pursue, and they were walking me through the longer term measurable impact revenue after three to five years, and it wasn't nearly as big a number as I was hoping to see, with regard to what they were working on, and I thought that they could do at least 10 times, what they were proposing. At the very least, I wanted them to think about what it would take to 10x, because it might change their behavior, and it might introduce a whole new realm of what was possible. And so I gave them that feedback and I just took a note to myself. And I wrote down dream big. And then they kept talking, and I circled dream big, and I was like, "Yeah, this is important. "I wish all teams would do this "before I had the opportunity to provide "that feedback, that they could do that proactively, "that would be amazing." And I thought to myself, it's not enough to just dream big, because if you can't get it done, what's the use? Just kind of pie in the sky. And I wrote an overlapping circle, and in that it was get done. That's what I wrote in that circle. And I was thinking, that's the ticket. People that dream big, get it done, those are people who are going to create tons of value, those are the people I want to work with. And then it occurred to me, I've worked with people like that. And those are the people I was describing sometimes. Those most valuable people within an organization, they get away with really bad behavior. And so I added a third circle. And the third circle was people who know how to have fun. And it was a proxy for people that share values, and people who are aligned in terms of how they want to go about their work. I originally had have fun and then realized that, work's not a party every day and people may misconstrue that one, those people know how to have fun. Who want to be around one another, who don't take themselves too seriously. And that was it, it was three overlapping circles, it was a Venn diagram. And then the middle where the overlap was, I drew an arrow. I said, "these are the people I most want to work with." I ended up showing Brian Rumao, my chief of staff, and he said, "Oh my God, this is fantastic." I was like, "What?" He was like, "Oh, yeah, you got to share this, "you got to put this online." I was like, "What are you talking about? "It's a doodle." He was like, "No, no, no, you got to trust me." I was like, "All right." So I started to write down and he go, "No, no, no, we got to do a little little diagram. "We got to do the actual Venn." And I was like, "Dude, you want to do a Venn? "and you only post it, that's fine. "Otherwise, you just go, realize okay." And he just did the three circles, he did a little font and I posted it. It is by far the most viral thing I've ever shared. And when I say by far, I mean by far. It's been viewed millions of times, it's been liked, well, north over 100000, 150, 180000 times I mean, it was bonkers. It just deeply resonated with people. The reason I'm sharing this with you is regardless of whether or not you agree with me, and those are the people you most want to work with, define for yourself, the people you're going to look forward to working with every day. It took me many, many years to understand that, and once I did, it changed everything. Everything, because when you love coming to work every day, and you really look forward to working with people, that's when you're going to do your best work. Expressing gratitude, when it comes to building your team, when it comes to creating space, when it comes to people feeling heard and valued, probably the highest return on investment management practice I know, is the expression of gratitude. It's saying, "Thank you, great job. "That work that you just did, "you knocked it out of the park." And it's doing so from a place of deep authenticity, when your work strikes a chord with you. When you put yourself in the shoes of the person or the team that did it, you understand what they went through to make it happen. That's when an expression of gratitude can be invaluable, not, "Hey, great job." And you do it every time you see everyone on your team, regardless of whether it was a great job or not. But when the work really resonates with you, and you express it from a place of deep, real conviction and authenticity, it's magic, because people feel seen, and they feel heard and they feel understood. And that's when people do their best work, when they feel appreciated for being who they are.
Learn about the importance of maintaining awareness of yourself, your team, your industry, and the world at large. Explore the topic of synthesis, which you achieve through developing your vision and values and by focusing on the most important priorities. Plus, learn about the role of inspiration in leadership, both in terms of being true to your own values and motivating others.