Business, like life, is a game. The question is how you choose
to play it. Do you want to win, be your best, and make a difference?
Or are you satisfied with where you currently are?
If you want to work to win and reach the top tier of your organizational
chart, you need a strong team to get you there. Successful business
people know they can’t go it alone. That’s why they surround
themselves with qualified people who bring various strengths to the
The new book Playing with the Big Boys: Success Secrets of the
Most Powerful Women in Business demonstrates the importance of
team building. All the top Fortune 500® executives profiled found
it was important to surround themselves with the best and the brightest.
These executives had so much confidence in themselves that they weren’t
concerned with whether their subordinates would outshine them or take
their jobs. In fact, they found that having very able people beneath
them made it easier to replace themselves as they advanced.
How Your Team Can Help You
Because you will undoubtedly have many responsibilities during your
climb to the top, having a top quality team on your side can help
lessen the burden so you can focus on what’s really important
to you and your career. Ann Livermore, President, Business Customer
Organizations at Hewlett-Packard, learned this lesson early in her
career. She said, “I had a very thoughtful, very helpful boss—a
man named Jim Arthur. One of the things that Jim said to me was, ‘Ann,
you care about too many things!’ It was a really important message
because there are so many things that you can work on, so many things
that you can do in a business environment, but picking the right ones
and letting other people handle the rest is a really important lesson.”
A carefully selected team can also help you see challenges in a
new light and offer solutions you may never have thought of yourself.
That’s why the key to choosing team members is not to choose
people who are like you, but who have a basic philosophy or value
system like you have.
Jean Hamilton, CEO, Prudential Institutional & Executive Vice
President, Prudential Insurance Company of America, sees the importance
of these values as well the importance of picking a varied team. “Things
are moving and changing so quickly,” she says. “We are
faced with opportunities and challenges—both in business and
in our personal lives—related to an increasingly global economy
and society. The Internet is really making that happen more easily.
We need to have different perspectives and diversity of backgrounds
and experiences. I’m confident that this will allow us to find
much better solutions. So if you look at the team of people with whom
I work, we share values, goals, and standards, but we also come from
very different backgrounds, and we come at things in very different
Pick the Right Team Members
These top executives also found it is important to hire people who
complemented their strengths and weaknesses. While they wanted subordinates
who shared their same philosophies, values, goals and standards, they
also needed a diverse team. When coming into a new organization, having
a mix of new and experienced employees gave a mixture of perspectives.
Just how do they find the right people for their team? Anne Sweeney,
President, Disney/ABC Cable Networks and President, Disney Channel,
believes you “have to get out there. You have to do more than
rely on the opinions of others. You have to join organizations.”
That’s why Sweeney belongs to the American Women in Radio and
Television and Women in Cable and Telecommunications organizations.
By networking at the various organizational functions, she has been
introduced to many talented people. Her goal is to hire people who
are courageous and willing to say “Why not?” She wants
people who will think outside of the box and who are willing to take
Likewise, when it comes to finding the “right people”
to place on your team, Shelley Broader, Senior Vice President, Hannaford
Brothers, stresses the importance of seeing people for who they really
are. She explains, “I see people as a pie and everybody has
pieces that are filled on their plate. It’s being self-actualizing,
really understanding what pieces of the pie you have on the plate
and hiring people on your team who have different pieces than you
have.” Broader understands the importance of interacting with
people who are unlike herself, as she insists on finding people who
can complement not only her strengths, but also her weaknesses in
order to build a team.
Keep Your Team on Track
Simply hiring the right team of people is just the first step. Next
you must continually motivate them and keep them focused on the goal.
Part of the key to keeping people on track is to give them regular
feedback on how they are performing in relationship to the goals of
the organization. Also let them know how the organization is doing
and how they can contribute to its success. Allow them to develop
their own action plans.
Karen Garrison, President, Pitney Bowes Management Services, rates
performance levels with an A, B, C, or D. By hiring the best, she
says, you end up with A players on your team. Garrison talks about
the fact that employees are not always A players, that sometimes
they will fall to a B or even a C level. You need to know where
people are in the stages of their lives, what their priorities are,
and what personal issues they may be dealing with. When someone
is a D player, they need to be given feedback about their performance
and if it doesnít improve, that person should move on to someplace
where they can perform better.
Recognizing people who do good work is a key to a motivated team.
Even a simple gesture like a “thank you” or spending a
little personal time with them can make a lot of difference. You can
draw people to a team by recognizing them for what they do well and
what they like to do, and then giving them the chance to do so.
Liz Fetter, President and Chief Executive Officer, QRS Corporation,
takes recognition seriously. In addition to thanking her team for
a job well done, she recognizes what people are good at and then matches
them to that particular job. “I also promise them that they’ll
be positioned for the next level shortly into their job tenure if
the results are there,” she says. This practice helps build
loyalty among her team members and exemplifies that their actions
will be rewarded.
Build Your Team Today
If mastering the game of business and reaching the top tier of corporate
America are your goals, then building a winning team is your first
priority. By utilizing your teams’ talents and keeping your
members continually motivated, you can help them advance not only
your career aspirations, but theirs as well. With a top-notch team,
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Happiness comes in the joy of achievement,
in the thrill of the effort itself.
The human spirit needs to reach out,
to achieve, to triumph, to be happy.
Happiness does not come from doing easy
but from the satisfaction afterglow
that comes after the achievement of a difficult task
that demands you step up to be your best.
Your growth itself contains the seed of
There is no happiness except in the realization
that you have accomplished something.
Happiness does not happen by itself.
Happiness thrives in activity.
It is a running river, not a stagnant pond.
Happiness is something we create for ourselves
and within ourselves.
Great Quotations from Great Women
“Mistakes are dues one pays for a
— Sophia Loren
The book Playing with the Big Boys: Success Secrets
of the Most Powerful Women in Business is available at local bookstores
or it can be ordered from the Products
page or by calling toll free 888-SUN-3777 or 760-434-3343.
The full candid
audio and videos interviews with the Most Powerful Women are also
available either at the telephone numbers above or the Products
Debra Pestrak has developed a two-day program focused
on what it takes to be successful in your career. Contact her at 888-
SUN-3777 for more information on this dynamic program.
the Most Powerful Women Success Traits
If you want
to learn which success traits you need to master to become a Most
Powerful Women, contact Success Unleashed® at 888-786-3777 for
the assessment and free consultation.
Debra Pestrak is a peak performance
expert, an award-winning motivational speaker, and author of Playing
with the Big Boys: Success Secrets of the Most Powerful Women in Business
and Playing with the Big Boys & Girls in Real Estate.
Debra is founder and CEO of Success Unleashed, Inc.®, a company
dedicated to developing powerful programs that impact the way people
think and work. Pestrak was a player in corporate America for 26 years,
working her way up the ranks from a telephone operator to managing
a $20 million budget. She also has instituted and led sales organizations,
and is the past president of the National Speakers Association –
San Diego. To discover more performance advice, contact the author
at 888 SUN-3777.
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