The Power of the Team

I know that I have written about the need to find and hire superstars and there is plenty of research and advice out there about how to manage and keep them on your team.

But I went back and watched a TED talk again by Margaret Heffernan and it was great reminder about the power of a team and what a positive effect on business a great team can have. Those positive team dynamics are the main reason why I think StarGarden has relatively low turnover in an industry that sees resources swap in and out of companies quite frequently.

I have worked for StarGarden for a long time, almost 20 years, and many of the people I work with have also been here for many years. And we stay working at StarGarden because of the people we work with. We are not rallying around a single superstar. We are collectively stronger and do better work as a team. As Heffernan mentioned, over a period of time the team that will perform the best is not the one made up of individuals who are superstars, but rather the team that has the best communication skills and understands the nuances of working together. Teams that work together for a long time build trust and it becomes a safe place to discuss ideas and put opinions forward. We have all been warned about how a homogeneous team can fall into groupthink and miss important options and considerations. So many of us think that working in the same team for a long period of time can be counter-productive but the reality is that effective collaboration needs time to develop and it can only exist in teams that respect and trust each other and feel comfortable debating and offering up their opposing views. That safe, collaborative environment creates the social capital that Heffernan speaks about and it is extremely valuable both to the individual team members and to the larger organization.

At StarGarden, it is also been a great retention tool. Our love of working together is definitely a reason we all stay and when the option to go work elsewhere presents itself, the social capital we have created makes that decision to leave that much harder.

I am certainly not arguing that we don’t need to focus on hiring excellent people, we absolutely need to hire the best we can. But we also need to be very careful about how those new team members change the dynamic of the team. Social capital is worth building and preserving.


About the Author:

Marnie Larson is the CEO of StarGarden Corporation and oversees its operations in Canada, US and New Zealand. She has over 20 years’ experience in the software industry and specializes in HCM, Business process automation and Workflow technology.