What does a great team look like?
When we talk of great accomplishments in business, it’s easy to spot people out. Whether it’s Jack Ma, the richest man in China and Founder of the Alibaba Group, or Elon Musk for being the founder of PayPal, Tesla Motors and SpaceX. Whether its Reed Hastings of Netflix or Bob Iger, the Executive Chairman and former CEO of the Disney Corporation (who led the acquisitions of major companies like Marvel, ESPN, ABC, History Channel, Pixar, and most recently, the expansion of Disney’s theme parks into Shanghai and Hong Kong). It’s so easy to see star players and not the great teams behind them. So today, we explore great teams.
My list of greatest teams moves away from the individualistic spotlight of Neil Armstrong to his Apollo 11 Astronaut American team that successfully put that first man in space. Maybe from the well talked about vision of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, (VP and Prime Minister of the UAE) to the actual Dubai Construction Teams that designed the city and even built the Burj Khalifa. They have gone ahead to build other skyscraper landmarks that make Dubai such a beauty. The Burj Khalifa remains one of the tallest building still. It was built over the years in a risky environment with thousands of high attitude constructions workers, yet delivered ahead of time and below the budget; with only one casualty.
To all great accomplishments, there are really no lone rangers but a great team. There is a catalogue of them. Of all great teams, our focus today is on the American Navy SEAL. It is a section of the American Naval forces made up of specially trained, committed and managed soldiers that engage only in groundbreaking special missions that are almost impossible. Do you have an equivalent of that in your team?
The SEAL in the Navy SEAL in full means SEA, AIR, AND LAND. They are the bests of the best. To enroll means you have to show special talents, from a high IQ to resilience and physical strength (an example is ability to do 100 pushups within 2minutes) and even psychological strength (that shows you are numb of pain and fear). Over the course of your training and mental re-engineering, you will be subjected to punishing activities, extreme temperatures, mental fatigue and sleep deprivation.
Only a few make it to the end during the training process and become part of the SEAL team. There’s no space for mediocrity. Out of tens of thousands that apply to be a SEAL, only about 250 succeeds. One of the most popular missions accomplished by the Navy SEALs was the killing of the world’s most dangerous man of this Century, Osama Bin-Laden. That mission as hard as it was, it lasted less than 20 minutes. It was televised live to the US Pentagon in front of the president and his cabinet and as was planned, it was flawless. But behind the scene, it took lots of simulation (they even designed an equivalent of that same building they invaded for training), plus the gathering of Intel and iterative preparation for the mission to be a success. These kinds of selection processes and training should be applied in corporate organizations.
All organizations need to have their own special strike force that can be likened to the Navy Seals in each of its departments. They should be designed as an inner circle of high-performing individuals that are brought out to handle special tasks and vision in the company. They should have gone thorough measures and trained in special ways to get them to be at their very best. These processes can help companies groom their next set of A-list employees. Some companies like Amazon, GE, and Coca-Cola already engage these kinds of selection processes. After employing, they select a few of them from several departments and make them go through varieties of training to set them up to become a special elitist team; almost on genius level built for the top; built to last.
To achieve an equivalent of this, consider the following:
- Use data to select only the best staff: Most times people just apply for jobs without fitting the profile of the jobs they’re applying for. Therefore, Data of candidates like their grades in school (CGPA), backgrounds they grew up in, courses they studied in school, their special skills, experience, and their background can be used to select the best candidates. That way, people who just want jobs without fitting into the profile of the job are sieved out from the others.
- Use data to spot most outstanding performers: Appraisals shouldn’t just be for promotions and firing, it should help identify people who think and solve problems the fastest and most effectively. And then using cumulative advantages and capitalization concepts, help them get better at what they are better at
- Single them out: after conducting those tests, the most outstanding candidates should be singled out from the others and then put on special training to take over the organization. These sets of training will push them further into perfection.
- Expose them to varieties of opportunities, environments and challenges.: Prepare them for the worst and the best, and then support them to strike and deliver excellence, where and when it matters most.
Watch the video on why Every organization needs its own navy seal :