How to mold your fantasy team and create your ideal culture

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Anyone hiring typically wants to be the best person available, whether the role is quarterback, product manager, defensive end or developer. But what happens when the best person for a position isn’t the best person for your team?

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In the NFL, where personalities can be larger than life, many talented players are considered the worst teammates ever. Some were on winning teams, but their teammates would have preferred if they weren’t.

It can be tempting to bring in the best individual player for each position and hope they all come together and win. They could push each other to improve and flourish, or they could create a toxic environment with all their heads bowed. The alternative is to bring in people who work together so well as a team that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

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Before you can make a decision, you need to determine what kind of team, aka “culture,” you want to create. In football, you might want to spend your resources on building the best west coast offense around an extraordinary player like Tom Brady. However, if you think the run-heavy smashmouth offense is the best, Tom Brady will be disappointed and won’t be the best for the team.

Some teams are known for their killer defenses that shut down other teams, so adding JJ Watt would be surprising. But he won’t fit into the team if you don’t surround him with proper support players.

Different players have different playing styles that suit some teams and not others – the same applies in the office.

RELATED: Tom Brady Helps Us Understand the Importance of Employee Loyalty

Find out which side of the ball you’re on

No football team goes on the field without deciding what kind of team they are and what players they need to be successful. The same thing applies in business: We can’t just randomly tinker with employees and expect to end up with a winning team.

As a leader, you must establish the culture you are hoping to achieve and look for employees who fit in. Do you want to build a team of individual superstars laser-focused on the race to the top? Or the teammates with whom you can’t wait to have a beer at the end of the day?

One approach is not inherently better than the other. Still, each comes with its own set of values ​​that are reflected at work—an office that values ​​individual contributions is a vastly different place to work than one that prioritizes relationships with coworkers. Once you have established the company culture that you hope to develop, it will be much easier to align all employees, allowing you to move seamlessly toward your goals.

There is no one “right” culture

Establishing a workplace culture is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Google’s culture may not work for a new startup, and the man who dreams of becoming the next Elon Musk may not thrive in a small, family-oriented company. We must find the culture that works best for our company and people.

Unhappiness at work often comes from mismatches in culture – you’d never throw Tom Brady to the rescue because you’d be wasting his skills, and he would be miserable. Similarly, if you work in a cutthroat, winners-all-company but value teamwork and work-life balance, you will be unhappy and unable to perform to your highest abilities. To be successful at work, we need to find a workplace culture that values ​​and supports what we have to uniquely offer.

RELATED: What Does Football Teach Us About Startup Sales Strategy?

Build your fantasy team

Establishing the best culture for your company begins during the hiring process. We can’t just hire people to fill a seat if we want them to be successful in the long run. We might not get every person we hire, but if we put our culture at the fore, our success rate will be much higher. To some extent, the same is true for job seekers. There may be times when we must prioritize finding a job to pay the bills, regardless of cultural fit. However, if we want long-term fulfillment in our career, we must work according to our needs and value our skill sets.

So how do we build this workplace fantasy team? Whether you’re looking for new team members or an employee looking for a new job, asking the right questions during the hiring process is key to fitting in to the culture.

At my company, I conduct the first interview to make sure each potential hire fits into our established culture. In this first meeting, I always ask how he has dealt with challenging situations in the past. This question helps me find employees with a growth mindset, who aren’t afraid to make a mess, are comfortable asking for help when needed, and are team players even in the midst of stress.

Still, these are my preferences, and another interviewer might ask very different questions. I want to hire people with a growth mindset and a positive attitude because I know we can train them regardless of their starting point. However, if you run a fast-paced startup, you might want to hire people you know can hit the ground running.

As a potential employee, you should ask the interviewer about workplace culture and research online beforehand. If work-life balance is important to you, ask questions about how often you are expected to work on weekends. If career advancement and speedy promotion are your priority, ask about opportunities for growth and a specific promotion timeline.

Ultimately, if you hire someone who doesn’t fit the culture, it’s the leadership’s responsibility to talk with the managers and let the employee go or help move them into alignment. And if you’re an employee, don’t be afraid to leave a company that isn’t right for you if you have the means.

RELATED: Running a Business Is Like Playing Football

find your team

You must be objective when looking for your next job or employee. Go beyond the ABCs listed on the job requirements and consider: What am I trying to achieve, and what kind of people do I want to work with? Some people want to win the Superbowl every year and enter the Hall of Fame, while others simply want a steady career and a reputation for kindness.

We can’t all be Tom Brady or JJ Watts, win the Superbowl or sack quarterback, but we can find a team that allows us to flourish with our unique talents and gifts.

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