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A Winning Team

One of the worst mistakes a manager can make is to put together a team of clones of himself. It’s like putting together a football team. Every coach would like to have several 6'6" 300 pounders who run 4.7 40-yard dashes and bench press 500 pounds, but he wouldn’t want 11 of them on the field at the same time. A major factor in putting together a winning team is the ability to put together the right combination of talent.

That’s why top managers have to have the ability to objectively assess strengths and weaknesses in people, including themselves. Then they build on their strengths and compensate for their weaknesses. This may mean hiring someone with the abilities they don’t possess, forming an alliance with someone who is strong in the areas they aren’t, or outsourcing. The book First Break All The Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently identifies two very profound conclusions about the best managers. The first is they have the ability to identify a person’s talents and then find the right job fit. The second is that almost all their focus is on building on a person’s strengths, not on fixing their weaknesses.

Remember, picking the right people is half the job. The other half is figuring out how to make diverse people and elements work together. Only then can the whole be greater than the sum of its parts.