Hockey fans (or Football – not American but the soccer one) how many times have you say hey ‘He is a play maker, not a scorer…’ or the reverse ‘He can score from anywhere…’ The metaphor can be used in most team sports, I remember watching Magic Johnson who seemed to have eyes behind his head to make passes, and Michael Jordan who hit impossible shots in final seconds. Well, what does this have to do with team building? Yeah, you guessed it, this post is about that.
Have you ever been on a team where everyone has great ideas, but nothing gets finished? Or a team who can accomplish anything, but lacks direction and vision? I have, and yes, I fit in one of the two buckets of a starter or finisher, and I would think most people do also. The challenge of anyone creating a team or organizing a team is getting the right mix of both.
Take Apple, as great of a visionary that Steve Jobs was, it took the genius of Steve Wozniak to realize the vision. From the Apple 1 to the Apple ][ and more Jobs had great ideas. Woz though got it to work. Everyone knows about the stories of Jobs vision etc. but how about one about Woz. Woz created the first Apple Computer, the motherboard, the operating system, everything before working with Jobs. Woz tried to sell it to HP five times but was rejected. Jobs convinced them they could start a company and sell it themselves. It was Jobs vision that saw the Apple ][ (and more after) something people would want to buy. Woz who the one built it.
What are starters good at? They are good at coming up with ideas, thinking creatively and getting those ideas off the ground and running. Starters also can get people on board with their ideas, get them excited to work on the project. Finishers have the dedication to details, the focus and the willpower to see things through completion. If there were only starters, nothing would make it to market. The finisher’s role is just as important (though we very rarely see it that way). As a team leader, you need to make the finisher feel just as important and key as the starter.
Your team needs a Jobs, and a Woz. And if your team has other types of roles your job is to identify those roles and find the right mix. More complex than identifying the people you need, is back to one of previous posts that each team member needs to feel like they will be heard. Your team needs someone who can pass, someone who can score, someone who can save and one who can stick up for team members. It is a team, and for all the tasks you have, you need people who are not only willing to do them but excel at doing it.
Oh yes, there are a few people who can do both, consider yourself lucky. Your goal, look at your team, find the starters and finishers, then see what is missing (or where you are overweight) and make the adjustments. Now treat the finishers like rock stars, because they will take your ideas to completion.
This opinion is mine, and mine only, my current or former employers have nothing to do with it. I do not write for any financial gain, I do not take advertising and any product company listed was not done for payment. But if you do like what I write you can donate to the charity I support (with my wife who passed away in 2017) Morgan Stanley’s Children’s Hospital or donate to your favorite charity. I pay to host my site out of my own pocket, my intention is to keep it free. I do read all feedback, I mostly wont post any of them
This Blog is a labor of love, and was originally going to be a book. With the advent of being able to publish yourself on the web I chose this path. I will write many of these and not worry too much about grammar or spelling (I will try to come back later and fix it) but focus on content. I apologize in advance for my ADD as often topics may flip. I hope one day to turn this into a book and or a podcast, but for now it will remain a blog.