How To Build an A-Team


Building an A-team doesn’t happen by accident. They’re created strategically over time.

If you’re like many organizations, you do your best day-to-day and hope that your A-team will come together on its own. But, relying on that type of strategy is costly and ineffective.

Cultivating A-teams doesn’t require a master’s degree in human resources. Once you know what characteristics you’re looking for in team members, you can begin putting the foundation together.

Characteristics of an A-Team

A-teams have both strong leadership and clearly defined roles.  The leader doesn’t have to be you if you’re removed from day-to-day operations. However, there does need to be a manager or team leader who has great leadership skills.

In addition, each member of your A-team should know exactly what their \strengths and expertise are, why they’re on the team, and what they can contribute. When roles are clearly defined, there will be far less conflict because everyone knows who’s responsible for what.

As a leader, you should also understand what motivates your team. Using Kolbe A and Birkman assessments will understand both a person’s instinctive mode of operation as well as their passions, motivations, behaviors and interests. When you understand these characteristics, you can leverage the natural talents, passions, behaviors and motivators of employees.

Quantifiable Goals and 100% Commitment

Your team can’t achieve at an A level unless they know exactly what the goal is. Great teams have goals that are challenging but achievable. They are also quantifiable and shared with the entire team, so everyone knows how the team is progressing.

Also, team members are consistent in their efforts, willing and able to do what’s needed to help the team reach the desired goal. However, they aren’t obsessive. An A-team has members that have a balanced life outside of work as well.

Excellent Communication and A-team Focus

The need for excellent communication within high-level teams cannot be overstated. When people fail to communicate, there are misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and assumptions about what’s happening that are frequently false.

A-level teams also have A-team focus. They know it isn’t about them individually. While they understand that doing their individual best helps make the team successful, they also realize that they’re more likely to succeed when they work together.

Team Members are Highly Effective People

Stephen R. Covey’s famous book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People will tell you a lot about what to look for as you are building an A team. As you choose team members, look for these attributes:

  1. Being proactive and focusing on his or her circle of control, while working to build influence over time.
  2. Knowing what he or she wants for the future and being willing to plan and work toward it.
  3. Knowing the difference between things that are important and things that are urgent, and being able to prioritize appropriately.
  4. Focusing on creating win-win situations for everyone involved in a problem.
  5. Seeking to understand others before seeking to be understood by others.
  6. Combining her or his strengths with others’ to create A-team that can achieve goals beyond an individual’s reach.
  7. Being able to balance and renew energy, resources, and health to create a sustainable and effective lifestyle.

Building an A-team Through Collaboration

There’s a philosophy in sports that it’s better to have your best team on the field than a group of your best players. The root of that idea is that collaboration is more important than individual superstars. The same idea applies in business. You want to focus on building an A-team that can collaborate well, not just a group of people who are outstanding in their individual skill sets.

Collaboration means that everyone is on the same page, working together to build or create something. Working as A-team can help build everyone’s emotional quotient and help the group learn to draw on each other’s strengths and experiences.

There are many ways to get your team to start collaborating, and it’s an essential step in building an A-team that you can be proud of.  If you’re ready to starting building an A-team but you need help deciding how to start, we’re here to help. Contact me for a free consultation today!