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Starting from Scratch – Team & Partners

One of my favourite programmes as a child was ‘The A-Team’. The plot was simple; each week the team of ex-soldiers, wanted by the government, would rescue those in need of their services. Maybe my love for the series was because it was all about the underdog winning against the bully, or maybe it was their ingenuity to get out of the trickiest corners. Regardless, the common thread running through each episode was that the team, led by Hannibal, pulled together to help someone, and support one another. In many ways they looked like misfits, but they were brought together by their shared bond and because their skills complemented each other’s.

This month we are examining how to start something from scratch, and having the right team around you is the second of the four corner stones of starting something from scratch.

· Team & Partners

· Create Community

· Home

So, what is important when pulling together your ‘A-Team’? What should people look out for when pulling together an internal team and deciding who to partner with to make the initiative a success?

Shared purpose

In our last blog, we explained that the starting point of anything you do is attaining clarification on what your purpose is and the values through which you will deliver it. When forming a team of people or asking people to join you, it is crucial that they share that common purpose and share the values that you have as an organisation. I often speak to leaders in my training sessions about the formula

Purpose + Alignment = Shift

When we have people aligned to the same purpose, we get a real shift. Everyone pulling in the same direction ensures there is traction. Just like in a tug of war competition, when everyone on the team is using their energy to pull in the same direction, the project moves forward with strength.

When asking people to join you, ask simple questions like:

· What is your personal passionate purpose? What is important to you?

· What are your core values?

· What irritates you the most?

This allows you to see if there is any overlap between their purpose and values, and the organisation’s purpose and values.

Humble, Hungry, Smart people

Patrick Lencioni, in his book ‘The Ideal Team Player’, outlines that the ideal team player needs to be:

· Humble – being of little ego; focusing more on their teammates than on themselves. Truly humble people do not see themselves as greater than they are, but neither do they discount their talents

· Hungry – hungry for success for the organisation and those that you serve

· Smart – emotionally intelligent to know themselves, know how others operate and work to connect the two

When you look for someone to join you, these three qualities mean that they will be focused on the purpose your organisation serves. A simple way to find this out can be asking them the question:

· Which is your weakest trait, ‘humble, hungry or smart’?

You’ll get to see if they are self-aware, and how they answer will give you an indication of their humility.

Having someone of humility means they will take feedback and won’t try to consume the arena for themselves. It means they will want the best for you, the team, and those you serve.

Partners with shared values

When you start out, you will need to partner with others to help you deliver the mission of what you are starting. The same formula of

Purpose + Alignment = Shift

is important here too. For example, if your organisation/initiative is about quality and the partner you are considering is about low cost, there is a misalignment here that will lead to confusion for you and those that you serve. If your initiative is about quality relationships but your partner is about efficiency, again, there could be confusion. Some simple key questions can help you to discern if they are a good partner:

· Do they share a similar vision to us?

· Do their values align with our values?

Quality control your partners

When a delivery driver delivers a package to you, it not only reflects on the delivery brand but also on the sender. The customer will not really differentiate them from you. So, who you partner with and the quality they stand for reflects on you and your service. I recently interviewed Sarah Manning of Secure Stores Nationwide in the Leadership Lounge podcast and asked her about the importance of quality control with partners. She said that she checks out what they stand for at the start of the relationship and regularly reviews how they deliver. She does this because she knows that the quality of what her partners deliver reflects on her company. So, choose your partners wisely for their values and their service. When picking partners, ask:

· Are their customer care standards high?

I recently advised an organisation on their CEO replacement. They knew what they were looking for and I gave them this simple piece of advice. ‘Take your time to find the right fit’. It is so tempting, particularly in times when it seems hard to recruit people, to accept someone of lower quality than you are looking for. I have always found when we do this, we end up paying for this one way or another later on. Even if it means temporary arrangements, finding the right person or partner that shares your purpose and values is priceless.


Hear more

This month I interview Richard Dedicoat, the headteacher of Grace Cook Primary school, who has been living our ‘Start from Scratch’ theme for months, as he has worked to start this school from scratch ready for its opening in September. Do tune into the Leadership Lounge Podcast on 15th April to hear how he has managed it!

Can we help you?

Do you want to get something off the ground and need a sounding board to help shape it? Could we help you through coaching to discover your why, how and what? Everyday Leader’s team of coaches can help you understand what is going on in your head and how you can manage your emotions and other people in those moments. Give us a call on 01449 710438 if you would like us to help you explore this and empower you and your team.

Everyday Leader is here to empower, inspire and equip you to do that. If we can help you find a way forward, through coaching, training or consultancy, do let us know. Contact us now:


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