Do you know any truly remarkable endeavor in life or business – that succeeded as a one-person show?

(even stand-up comics have a team to support them!)


Successful entrepreneurs, inventors, social media stars, great companies – are anchored in their success by people who help bring out the magic in our ideas.  


TEAMS are the super-power of any mission and organization …


Empowered teams who accomplish a mission they are truly proud of — 

one that connects to the larger organizational vision 


  • Grows customer loyalty
  • Innovates
  • Successfully solves difficult problems. 


Whether you think of …

  • The groundbreaking “Man on the Moon” mission of Apollo 11 in 1969 – maybe there were only 2 men who were famous, but over 30,000 people on the ground supported that mission!
  • The wildly successful collaboration of Wikipedia (which most of us rely on daily!) – not a traditional team, but nonetheless requires a tremendous amount of organized TEAMWORK…
  • The daily camaraderie, efficiency + positive spirit of your favorite Starbucks (have you  noticed each has their own different culture, but they ALL feel good?!!)


TEAMWORK is the backbone that stands it up!


Today’s TEAMS ARE DIFFERENT from the teams of the past. 




They’re more dispersed, digital, and diverse.


Yet a recent OC Tanner survey found only 26% of employees feel their teams work well together. 


What separates a mediocre team from a great team? 


I’ve been training a program on collaborative teamwork for over 20 years – and studying great teamwork.  Here I’m sharing the 3 MOST ESSENTIAL ingredients in launching and leading great teams: 


1. Trust –

Google did a massive study back in 2012 called Project Aristotle – on what the perfect team looks like. Studying 180 teams over several years – they identified what I had been noticing for about 10 years by that point – 

That the crucial element is balanced participation where members have the ability to share honestly … openly … including transparency of emotions and thoughts … with NO ridicule or backlash. This takes expert facilitation, but it’s completely transformative when the team leader understands how to pull this off.  NEVER HAS IT BEEN MORE IMPORTANT than in a virtual environment, to learn facilitation techniques that put this into play.   


2. Compelling Goal or Mission – 

Nobody likes meetings… 

But Everyone WANTS to be part of something meaningful – for example, solving a vexing problem – 


like how to effectively send your entire organization to remote work in a matter of days back in 2020 …!


This energizes a team!


Invent something new – like the infamous Apple teams who are constantly building stuff “we never knew we needed until we couldn’t live without it.” 


Rally around a common cause.  The #BlackLivesMatter movement that launched in Spring 2020 catalyzed and engaged PEOPLE OF ALL COLORS to explore new solutions to the plight of poverty and dignity and fairness for blacks in the U.S. – while this is not an example of a business team, finding a common plight or cause IS a crucial defining element of great teams, that stay energized throughout the entire journey. 


3.  Empowered Freedom – a crucial but rare practice

This means the team’s work cannot be overridden or undone by people across the business. 


A successful team is empowered to execute a mission or solution, 

learn from it, and

improve upon it.  


Which requires a VERY clear mission, defined goals, 


safety nets to ensure that something big is not overlooked. 


ON this, think of the teams in your organization – and how often they are completely empowered to achieve the mission?  What does that take?


Here’s a great story of how this worked at Ford, during the re-working of the Ford F150- the best-selling vehicle in the world for over 30 years:



Ford needed to update and improve an automotive icon, the F-150 pickup truck, without eroding the qualities that made it the best-selling vehicle in the country for more than 30 years

Starting in 2015, Ford prioritized better fuel efficiency in this vehicle – which meant introducing economical six-cylinder engines and using an all-aluminum body,

While the The 1,000-member team encountered several unique problems…Pete Reyes (chief engineer for the top-secret project) said at the end: 

“I don’t think I’ll ever work on a team that tight again. We made all our deadlines.”

Ford F150 finished 2020 as THE best-selling truck – an accomplishment they’ve held for 44 years running. 


What’s an example of SUCCESS or FAILURE in your teamwork since going virtual?  


Please comment to share!  


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