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How To Build a Dream Team From Scratch?
How to build a dream team

How To Build a Dream Team From Scratch?

By Trina M.
How to build a dream team
Build a Dream Team from scratch

Have you ever tried to build a dream team? If you have then you know it’s easier said than done!

By the very use of the word “dream” the possibility of actually assembling a congregation of individuals who work together in complete harmony shouldering their delegated roles perfectly is rendered quite bleak.

Human beings have egos, they overlook details, they tend to make mistakes and biased decisions. These factors all act as road blocks on the way to the perfect team.

But you can get close to the ideal team leveraging clever strategy and plain common sense. This #ManagementMonday post will teach you just that.





A Dream Team is Like a puzzle
A Team is Made of Puzzle Pieces

Without the right people, there can’t be the right team. However, managers the world over tend to forget one important fact. Team members are not complete solutions when considered in isolation. They are like the pieces of a giant puzzle. When fitted with each other just right, they can form a beautiful image of success, efficiency and productivity.

Thus the aim and intention of recruitment shouldn’t be to hire masters. It should be to hire competent puzzle pieces who can work in concert to solve problems effectively and with innovation.

Some best practices for the smart Project Manager of today are:

  • Pre-Selection Brainstorming – Before interviewing or choosing individuals to work on a project, gather relevant data, not about their hard or core skills but about their strengths and weaknesses from the HR department or from the recruitment firm employed. You can teach anyone the SCRUM methodology if needed, but if someone is no good at pitches and presentations – the reason behind the apparent lack is likely a psychological shortcoming (low self-confidence or fear of public speaking) that will require deeper analysis and possibly therapy to overcome.

These are the vulnerable spots you wish to take stock of. Compile what you can dig up in an Excel spreadsheet and try to create smaller groups of two and threes with one member making up for the deficiencies of the other. Your aim should be to cover the gaping holes as best as you can so that no aspect of the team’s performance will suffer, even under extenuating circumstances.

A good example may be pairing Sally who is wary of taking the center stage with gregarious John who can hit the ball out of the stadium with his suave presentations but unfortunately doesn’t possess the eye for details that Sally does. This duo can potentially rustle up amazing presentations and pitch them perfectly if the personal dynamics is easy.


  • Test for Adaptability – Instead of making the whole interview process about testing for knowledge, devote some time to testing for experience and adaptability as well. Make sure that the candidates are willing to learn, willing to adapt and if need be willing to throw the rule book out of the window. As founder Miles Jennings is fond of saying, “Hire Innovators, not plodders”. The market is rapidly changing in many ways. Irrespective of your industry, it is likely that undertaken projects may need to face technical and socio-economic challenges. Under such circumstances if managers are stuck with team members who refuse to chuck “processes” and “standardization” to respond to eminent changes, then the team and the project is bound to struggle. The ideal scenario is a good smattering of innovators and free spirits with some experienced members who know how to follow the conventional route.


  • Gauge Organizational Culture Fit – If you are looking to recruit new members who haven’t been a part of the company or business, it is important to test the individuals for organizational culture fit as well. New comers are in some respect akin to wild cards. It is impossible to completely predict their response and behavior till they are actually a part of the team. Experts suggest adding a new layer of probing psychoanalytical questions to the selection process in order to gauge organizational culture fit. Some common angles include musings like:


  •                            Are the company values meaningful to the hired individual?
  •                            Are the personal values of the interviewee in harmony company values?
  •                            Does the interviewee appreciate the company best practices?


Judging organizational fit is a vast topic, one that deserves its own blog post. Zappos is a brand that has been on a victory roll. It tests its new recruits for culture fit by simply asking them to choose from “retailing”, “shoes”, “clothes” and “customer service” the factor they believe has been fundamental to the success of the endeavor. By the way if you chose shoes, you will not be working at Zappos anytime soon.





Making the deal
Make Working for the Team Seem Irresistible!

Once the perfect puzzle pieces have been identified, it is now time to make the deal. Financial rewards are a given. Salary is the staple of a job, the benefit everyone expects. However a dream team has members who go above and beyond the “ask” of a project. In order to engage and imbue members with enthusiasm, it is important to point out the additional incentives they may be rewarded with if they do a fantastic job. It is a good practice to set expectations early. Nir Eyal the name behind “Hooked” believes that anticipation and gratification spur people on to invest more of themselves in a situation, project or product. Utilize this trigger to the fullest!




Lay the ground rules
Ground Rules Lend Direction & Purpose

Before a project can actually start, a bit of housekeeping is the order of the day! To put a bow on the intensive preparation and brainstorming, a project manager should try and cover the ground discussed below:

  • Leadership and Mentorship – The best team members may be at a loss once in a while. They may end up making inadvertent mistakes as well. It is important that the manager present himself as a leader and a mentor. Let them know that you have their back. Their problems are definitely your concern and after they have given it their best shot, they can expect full co-operation from you in terms of coming up with a solution. Armed with the assurance that their decisions have a sounding board in you and that the head is also an accountability partner, they can work wonders!


  • Clear Ground Rules – It is important to be there for the team. But it is equally important to be disciplined and organized. Project managers must:


– Understand their own working style

– Convey it to the team members in the form of processes to be followed for each occurrence


For example if a deadline is in danger of getting violated, then you must set a clear protocol for the team member in charge of the particular activity to follow. When should task be labelled “distressed”? When should you be involved? What are the steps the team members need to take before involving you? There should be standardization in terms of the team response.


The advice dispensed here can act as a road map to guide the efforts of the team lead or manager. The wonderful thing is – ad agencies, marketing firms, software companies, they can all benefit from the information on their quest to build a dream team! Even if they fall short, they end up with a pretty darn good one!







Image Credits:

Team Concept – DDPavumba

Making a Deal Irresistible – Stockimages

Laying the Ground Rules – Antpkr