The Big Idea
No matter what we set out to accomplish in life, it’s downright impossible to go it alone.
Questions I Answer
- How can I build a strong team?
- What should I look for when creating a team?
- How do I build a strong culture?
- What do good leaders do to encourage their team?
Key Topics in the Show
Making sure your team knows and understands the boundaries
The importance of being effective (rather than efficient)
3 tips for creating a strong team
This is the Intentional Advantage podcast with your host, Tanya Dalton, an entrepreneur bestselling author, nationally recognized productivity expert, and mom of two. This season is all about strategies for success, helping you confidently step into leadership, purposefully, intentionally and mindfully. Are you ready? Here’s your host, Tanya Dalton.
Hello everyone. And welcome to the Intentional Advantage podcast. I’m your host, Tanya Dalton. And this is Episode 184. So it still feels a little bit interesting, a little bit different to be starting off the podcast with the new name, but truly when my team and I sat down and we talked about what we’re going to be talking about this season, and we mapped out what the different topics were that we wanted to cover.
I really feel like this name, the Intentional Advantage really does fit because we’re focusing on using intentionality to our advantage. So with this season of using strategies for success, there is no better place to start. I don’t think then by talking about our teams, the people that we surround ourselves with every day, the ones we work shoulder to shoulder with as we climb the corporate ladder, or maybe we’re building our empire.
I mean, truly as humans, we are designed to work in groups. Our brains are literally wired for it, but that doesn’t mean that we’re good at it. So what I want to do is I want to spend a couple of episodes really exploring this concept of teamwork working together, because I think it’s so imperative.
And I think it’s so important, especially for wanting to live a life that feels intentional. I mean, no matter what we set out to accomplish in life, it is downright impossible to truly go it alone. I mean, after all, you are spending a great majority of your time alongside other people. So let’s make those relationships intentional. Let’s build them so that they aren’t just people who produce for us or who make work happen.
They are people who look forward to working with us and we look forward to seeing them every day as well. We want to get fired up for what we’re doing every day. And that means getting fired up about the people that we get to work with. Not the people we have to work with, but the ones we are lucky enough to get to work alongside day in and day out.
Let’s make our team feel like it’s not just some, you know, a mishmash of people who share a common paycheck provider, but instead as a group of people who truly care about one another and care about the work you create together. So today we’re going to talk about creating a strong team mentality and what that looks like for
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your existing team and what that looks like when you need to hire and bring on someone new,
whether that’s hiring from a pool of applicants who have put in their resumes online, or pulling someone from another department, we really want to be intentional with how we grow and how we nurture our team. So I want to touch on both of those in this episode, but before I dive too far in, I want to really quickly talk about one of the things that I see happen a lot.
When it comes to teams, many times I meet with business owners and they are frustrated and they’re downright irritated with their teams. And they feel like, you know, I hired these really efficient people who were really qualified, but now I’m disappointed with the results. And sometimes they even say, you know what? I just want to scrap the whole teamwork thing and just go it alone.
I just want to do it myself. And that’s not really the solution here’s what’s happened is they were so busy lasering in on the resume propaganda that they miss the signs that this isn’t the right person for the job. You know what I’m talking about here, right? You have to remember that a resume is a glorified ad that’s trying to convince you to hire the candidate.
And of course there are some really great high powered verbs in there: managed, achieved, leveraged. Woo! Sounds good, doesn’t it? We want a superstar, so we pay attention to the flashy results they’ve achieved. And then somehow by week three on your team, you realize, Oh, this person doesn’t fit at all. And that’s really frustrating. Hiring well isn’t enough.
You need to be hands-on. You have to nurture your team of superstars that you brought on. Teams are not just set it and forget it. We think that because we’re working with adults, we all know, and we all play by the same rules of the road. But as the leader, it is our job to make sure that everyone on your team knows and understands the boundaries.
And really that’s what it comes down to. It comes down to creating effective teams. But what I have found is that so many leaders focus laser-like on efficiency in their team. They focus on the output, how fast, how much, and yes, we need output, but we need effectiveness to put out high-quality work quality over quantity. That’s a common theme here on the podcast, right?
This is again, why the new name makes so much more sense. It really is about quality over quantity. It wins hands down every single time. So when we’re talking about effectiveness versus efficiency, we’ve had this conversation before, but which one do you think is most important for you as a leader?
If you look up either one in the dictionary, you’re going to see that both of them talk to some degree about productivity, but the bigger question is which one is most
important when it comes to accomplishing specific concrete goals or making time for the big priority items that we as leaders are often responsible for. I like to imagine the difference between efficiency and effectiveness as the difference between the run of the mill to-do list and the priority list.
Okay. We’ve had this conversation many, many times before. So you know, that regular to-do list simply don’t work when it comes to productivity, right? Sure. You can add a million different tasks to your list, cross them off as you go along. But because those tasks can literally range from the tiniest, most insignificant things to the biggest, most pressing projects and goals on your plate, it’s difficult to truly gauge your productivity, let alone how much traction you’re actually gaining towards accomplishing those goals.
So someone who regularly uses just their to-do list is someone that loves crossing off items. It doesn’t matter if they’re big items or small items or important tasks or trivial tasks. They just want to cross them off.
Feels really good, right? But they may even find that when they’re crossing off these tasks off their to-do list, they’re operating from that level of busy, which is what we want to avoid. It’s kind of like being a hamster on a wheel, lots of foot action happening, but not a lot of forward movement. They may make some headway on certain things one day and then completely struggle with anything of any real substance or important.
The next, in other words, they’re being efficient. They’re efficient doing certain things, but overall they’re not really effective in gaining some momentum towards success. And this is why I always encourage you to focus on effectiveness, like using your priority list. They’re specific. They help clear the clutter and the chaos from our mind. And they help us really truly be intentional about the tasks that we choose to work on.
They allow us to be effective in our approach as we set out to accomplish whatever it is we want to do. Here’s the thing: we want efficient team members, but efficiently doing things that should not be done at all is a waste of time. And that is exactly what happens when we’re not truly being intentional when we’re not being effective. It’s, it’s really about how we are spending our time.
And when we operate from a level of efficiency only, and that’s what we’re looking for in our team. And we take zero time to really pause and consider what tasks are really most effective in moving us forward. We wind up with less time left to do the right things after everything else has been crossed off the list. So what I want to do today,
I want to share some of my favorite tips on creating a strong, effective team. And I want to share some good hiring practices to help make this a little bit easier. So I
want to dive into both of those things in just a minute, but first let’s just take our quick mid-episode break.
In this episode, we’re talking about being an effective leader, and I think there is no better way to truly become a better, more effective, stronger leader than to surround yourself with other like-minded people. It’s about expanding your network to find more like-minded leaders who want to talk about teamwork, who want to talk about how we step into intentional leadership more confidently.
And you can find that by joining my free community, which is now called the Intentional Advantage, we are really tying what we talk about there in the community, with what we talk about here in the podcast. I love that it’s an extension of what we’re doing here. So it really allows you to truly apply what we talk about here into your everyday life and into your leadership roles. Joining is easy and it’s free. You can request an invite to join by going to tanyadalton.com/group.
We would love to have you there. All right, let’s dive into this idea of, How do we create these effective teams? How do we create a strong team mentality and how do we hire to make sure that we’re getting those people on our team? Well, a lot of this goes back to this idea of being a successful leader means you need to spend your time and your energy focusing on your top priorities.
So in other words, you need to spend time doing work that truly aligns with your goals, your values, your mission, your North star, you as the leader are the architect and the rest of the team. They’re the builders. They’re the ones who are going to do the work that helps you get there. And you’re going to do that together.
So my first tip for building a strong team is to give your team a clear map, share your vision of where it is you want the team to go. No one knows how to follow you. If you don’t communicate it. I mean, okay, unless you’re hiring a group of mind readers, then maybe they would know, but most people are not mind readers.
We have to tell our team where we’re wanting them to go together. And that starts by identifying the big priorities in our week. Our priorities are what keeps us on track with everything else we want to do in life, whether that’s at work or at home, but our priorities are the stepping stones towards success and happiness and our ability to truly live our best life.
And when we tend to those items, those priority items, that’s what measures how truly effective we are. And it’s only when we’re focusing on the tasks that move us closer and closer and closer to our goals and our overall mission as leaders. That’s when we’re able to be truly efficient in our efforts as well. So without the ability to be effective in your approach to anything you do in life, efficiency is pretty much a moot point.
It doesn’t exist or make much sense, frankly, without the other; we want to be effective, which makes us efficient. Now you’ve heard me talk before about how I have my team come together every Monday. And we do a Monday Momentum meeting where we discuss our plans for the week. Now here’s the catch: I don’t tell my team what they need to plan.
Instead, I have them take about five minutes each to share the high points of what they’re prioritizing. And that’s what I’m listening for. What are we prioritizing? Are we as a team prioritizing the same types of projects and tasks so that we are moving forward together towards that North star, towards the common goal we have as a team now, as the leader, that means I’m getting my team to work together and we’re building up that team mentality.
Nobody works in a vacuum. No one person stands alone. We do the work as one. And so therefore the team is encouraged to collaborate and cooperate. Two of my very favorite words when it comes to teams. So how do you build this in when you’re hiring?
Well, you need to ask questions about how your candidate, who wants your job, how they play well with others. For example, you could ask them, Tell me about a time when you had a different viewpoint from a colleague: How did you resolve that? Or here’s one of my favorite ones: Tell me about your favorite boss. What did you like about working for her?
Right here, when I’m listening for several things, like, am I a good boss for this person? Remember it’s not just about them being a good fit for you. You need to be a good fit for them as well. I want someone who resonates with the idea of moving together towards a shared vision, but I had one candidate, for example, one time tell me that her favorite boss left her a detailed list of exactly what she wanted to be accomplished every single morning.
She left this list and she was told not to veer off of it, that she was to do exactly as she was told. And she loved that. Okay, clearly you like to be micromanaged. Okay. That means I am not the boss for you.
I am not going to micromanage, and that’s okay. That’s what she was looking for. I was not the right fit for her. So this is part of what you’re looking for here too. Is she going to cooperate? And is she gonna work well with my style of leadership, not just how is she going to work with the team, but how do we all work together? All of that is truly important.
Okay. Tip number two: Use your values to help create rules for engagement. Values act as a structure for how we treat one another, the expectations for the work that needs to be done. And even how you communicate. For example, Family is one of the core values at my company. So we have a policy about not needing team members to check-in when they’re on vacation, because family is important.
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And I think when you’re on vacation, that is family time. You need to live by your values and allow them to act as a guide for your team. It’s so much easier to understand the playground rules when we all live by those same rules and that’s what values do they help everybody understand the expectations and what behaviors are acceptable.
So when it comes to hiring, consider hiring for values. Here’s the thing: experience is good. It’s great, but it can also be taught or trained. This is especially if growing or education is one of your values.
We need to focus on finding the people that are going to be the most effective in doing the work that needs to be done while still upholding the values that our business promotes, supporting the mission tuning into that same North star that guides us as leaders.
In other words, we need to get the right people on the bus. We want to hone in during our hiring process in ways that ensure that we are attracting the most effective people for the job. And if aligned team members are what you want to bring to the table, then a great place to start is with your values.
So instead of focusing solely on qualifications or touting the benefits, you’re willing to gear your job postings towards your overall mission statement and your values attract those people who go, Oh, I want a company that does this. I want a company that believes in these things. Promote the values that you stand by and state that you expect any person that you bring on board to support them as well.
And here’s the bonus of hiring like this; studies have actually found that when people are able to connect their work with what they value to a higher purpose, they work harder and they’re more satisfied overall. That’s some really nice characteristics in a team member: satisfied, working hard. Truly, it’s beneficial for you as a leader to open up your circle to people who may not necessarily have all the qualifications on paper that you think you’re looking for but have some experience that’ll benefit you and your business, and that truly do align with what you’re doing.
It is easy to really formally train the right most effective person for the job that is not hard to do. You want somebody who resonates with your mission, your values, and truly will support the business. It is not easy. However, to convince someone, no matter how qualified or overqualified they may be on paper to embrace what your business stands for,
if their heart truly is not in the game from the get-go. That’s what we want to remember. So when we’re hiring, talk about your values a lot, a lot, a lot, make sure they’re crystal clear. So you can ask questions about like, okay, look at our core values, which one really resonates with you. And how does it resonate with you?
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You can also use your core values as a basis for your questions. So let’s say, let’s say education is a key value. You can ask them, how do you continually sharpen your skills? How do you continually educate yourself and keep yourself really sharpened up? Tie in those values that are important to you and your team and your business or your corporation or whatever it is that you work; tie those in, and you’re going to attract the right type of person…
The person who is trainable, but really is excited about the work you’re creating together. And that brings me to my third tip, which is to create a culture of trust. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have that underlying foundation of trust. In fact, did you know that the Navy seals, which is one of the most elite military organizations in the world, they don’t always necessarily choose the highest performers?
Performance is important. It always is, right? But they equally value trust. They actually evaluate the recruits on those two qualities, performance, and trust. And if someone is a high performer, but they score low on the trust scale, it doesn’t matter what they can physically do. It doesn’t matter what they’re capable of. They won’t become a seal.
They have found that those who score low in trust become toxic and that can cause the entire group to fail. Now, as a leader, we can build a culture of trust by doing things like truly looking at delegation as autonomy. You know, many times we mistake delegation with decision making.
We delegate a task, and then we want to check in with every little step and we’re asking them to see everything they’re doing. You have got to stop micromanaging. You gotta start believing in your team. They’re not just pawns to get you to the goals, but you need to start seeing them as the people who work alongside you, who help you get to those goals.
And when you do accomplish the goal, give them credit. When there’s not a culture of trust, no one feels safe to stick their neck out. No one feels safe to offer out of the box ideas. And really it is the collection of ideas and the building of ideas that make the best products that offer the best services that create the best teams.
Communication. Good, open, honest communication is such an important element when it comes to building trust. And that allows for accountability both ways, not just for your team, but also for you. I know that for me, I have conversations with my team about, Okay, we want to align with our North star. If you think we are doing something that does not align with what we talk about or doesn’t align with our values, part of your job is to speak up. Part of my job is to make sure we’re staying in that same direction, but I can get lost from time to time.
I’m human, just like you. Right? And so it really is this accountability, both ways, your team to you and you to your team. So what are some hiring questions you can use to
discover trust? You could ask them, What are some examples of times that you went above and beyond the call of duty to help a customer or a colleague?
Or you could ask them to describe a work situation when there was strong pressure to compromise your integrity, How did you respond to that? These are good questions to really start those conversations about trust and understand how they work and how their brain works.
Are they trustworthy? Are they going to be trustworthy for your team? Trust goes both ways. We need to trust our team and our team needs to feel secure. And part of that security comes from building a team that supports one another. Here’s the thing to remember you, as the leader set the tone, we’ve all heard that phrase hire slow and fire fast.
It’s thrown around a lot. We hear it a lot more lately actually. And while I personally am not too keen on having to fire anybody, I don’t think there’s anyone out there who really loves firing people, but it’s something that we as leaders have to do from time to time. I can appreciate the sentiment behind that. I think often traditionally leaders have scrambled to fill positions.
They’re trying to get those positions filled fast because they think I don’t have time to deal with this hiring process, just get it done. And so what they do is they focus over that efficiency over the effectiveness. And what we want to do is truly slow down our hiring process. We want to take the time to nurture our team. But when we notice that someone is just not the right fit, we need to be quick to recognize when there’s someone we’ve hired for a job that’s just not going to do it for the long haul.
That saying, one bad apple spoils the bunch: it’s true. You have a toxic personality in there. It’s not going to help your team long-term. And truly, if they’re not aligned with what you are wanting to create, there’s something else out there for them.
You’re keeping them from finding whatever company that truly does align with their values. So if you need to think of it that way, think of it that way, but here’s the thing–and this is the takeaway I want you to remember: It’s not easy to convince someone to hold up your values if you don’t stand by them personally.
And so that is why it is so important to make sure that we, as the leaders, as the team builders are truly thinking about creating the most effective strongest team possible. So let’s talk about some momentum builders that you can take away and start doing and implementing right away. So the first one is, I want you to ask yourself, when is the last time you called a team meeting?
If it’s been more than a month, I need you to set a date to check-in. I want you to see what everyone’s working on. And I would encourage you to set an automation for regular meetings, whether that’s once a week or once a month, I would discourage once a day. I feel like that is really getting close to micromanaging, but I want you to
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think about what was the last time you had a team meeting and what did you talk about second momentum builder.
I want you to write out your core values and then do a quick five-minute assessment. No more than five minutes. Just a quick check to see, How do you think you’re doing on having your team live by those values? Are you really sticking true to them?
And then the third momentum builder: Head on over to my Facebook group and share one thing that you’d like to start doing with your team to build up that strong, effective mentality. Just head to tanyadalton.com/group.
Join us! We’re going to be having conversations all this week about creating effective teams. And next week, we’re going to continue the conversation talking about teams, by talking about how different personalities work together. That can be a challenge, no matter what your team looks like. And here’s the thing, we’re all different people.
So we’re going to bring different personalities to the table. So I can not wait for us to talk about that.
But for today, I want you to walk away from this episode realizing that creating an effective team, creating a strong team who work well together to get you as a group, to the goals, to the vision, to the North star that you’re really looking for… that is the Intentional Advantage.
**This transcript was made with AI so excuse any typos or grammar issues.
Tanya Dalton is consider one of the top motivating female keynote speakers. She talks about productivity, time management, habits, goals and finding purpose.