I Just Learned The Secret…

March 22, 2013 — Leave a comment

The Secret of Teams Image

Personally, when someone tells me they have a secret, I usually role my eyes.  In this case, I considered the source, and actually decided to listen.  I’m SO glad I did!

Of course, what I’m referring to is the book, “The Secret of Teams” by Mark Miller.  Mark is a long-time Chick-fil-A executive and is well known for his work there.  So, I decided to pick the book up through my Audible account and listen while working out.  I’m also very happy that I chose to consume it this way!

This wasn’t my normal style leadership book.  Typically, these books are broken by chapters and bullet points and mini-stories that are not necessarily connected.  However, in this case there is an over-arching saga throughout the entire book.  That made it much easier to listen to than to read (for me anyway).  I will probably even listen to it again.  And that’s rare for my squirrel brain!

All of that being said, the story and the principles I learned are very straight forward.  A team leader is tasked to learn about the “secret” of high performance teams.  She and her team visit with three separate high performance teams:

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  • Special Forces Brigadier General (of 35 years)
  • Professional Race Car Team
  • Successful Restaurant Team

All of these people were from very different walks of life, yet they all shared common themes during their discussions.  I guess that should be no big surprise, considering they are all working with humans.  😉

So, what’s the secret sauce?  Paraphrasing in bullet points:

  1. Selection – select high performance people, re-asign or discharge low performers 
  2. Training – keep training and growing your team’s individual skills
  3. Community – help them experience life together and they will go beyond the call of duty for each other

Not rocket science here, right?  This is just plain old, good common sense!  But, we know that common sense isn’t so common.  And to have three such simple items staring you in the face from such powerful teachers is very impactful!

I immediately recognized that some of these things are missing with the teams that I encounter.  Yet, before reading this, I just couldn’t quite put my finger on what was wrong.  Now, I have some ammo to bring to the fight!

I will definitely be using these examples to help teams in the future!  I hope you will too!

Question: What is missing on your team?  What can you do about it?