Few people have the opportunity to build their teams from scratch, while others make a career out of it. Undoubtedly the longer you’re in business the more likely the situation is to present itself. Creating a winning team is nothing short of a challenge and depending on the industry or corporate culture it can be a herculean effort. Absolutely you’ll face pressure from all sides, but staying focused, continuing to move forward and keeping your eye on the prize should lead to success - easier said than done. Take some tips from the pros on how to turn team building from a nerve-racking game of high risk poker to a hand full of aces.

1- Read Switch Now

Park the extension courses, webinars, seminars and white papers. Read this book and implement the winning approach. The Heath brothers lay out the perfect roadmap for regime, culture and people change. Book is a grand slam.

2- Add 25%

Among the most important principals deployed by Silicon Valley’s top entrepreneurs - add 25% to everything you can, especially time. No matter what - seriously - it will take you longer to accomplish goals than you originally think, especially if it’s your first time team building or the group is new at the company. Add 25% to project timing, budgets (you’ll likely settle for 10% more $$), technology, etc. You don’t know what you don't know, and neither do the countless coworkers you’re relying on to execute and make you successful.

3- No Substitute for Talent

The uber principal of hiring. The reality is talented people are good at what they do for a reason and it often includes hustle. So think twice about hiring the hustler who lacks talent. You’ll be expected to hire quickly and HR has a quota to fill. The pressure to hire fast is immense, but avoid wrong hires at all costs to prevent myriad problems in the future.

4- Hire Top Down

Strong management is critical to success. Leaders need to mesh well with their subordinates; hiring bottom up conflicts with this principal and creates a greater propensity for friction. You don’t have to work with the level 1 employee, your manager does - remember that.

5- Over Communicate - PLEASE!

Unfortunately many senior executives opt for less cross-functional communication when teams are being established, often purposefully suppressing interaction. Politics, personality, silos/power - dozens of reasons why this happens. Can be particularly common in disciplines where strong communication skills are not a core prerequisite. Think about it - the colleagues helping you get things done should be kept aware of what’s going on, right?! Common sense. Establish and monitor communication boundaries and avoid proactively fostering a toxic environment that takes too much time and stress to remedy. One team, one dream - don’t you forget it.


Joseph Nolan is a Los Angeles-based marketing and digital executive with over a decade of experience at leading companies in retail, ecommerce, entertainment and health/fitness. Opinions expressed on are his own. Please direct business inquiries and suggestions for future posts to  

joseph nolan

Marketing Mojoe, los angeles, ca 90403