How to Build a Gold Medal Team

Top employees are like athletes — motivated, well trained people who are willing to make personal sacrifices for the team.

Gold medal

Certainly a competitive nature is important, but it doesn't work well for your company unless it's accompanied by a deep sense of loyalty and responsibility. If you want to infuse your company with a winning spirit, look for these qualities when you interview new hires or promote from within. Gold medal employees:

  1. Go above and beyond expectations. They don't stop when they meet the minimum goals for their jobs — they strive to set new records.
  2. Offer solutions, not problems. They don't just say to the boss, "You have a problem." Instead, you hear, "We have a problem — let's see if I can figure a way to solve it."
  3. Bounce back. When they fail, they don't let it get them down. They admit the mistake and find ways to fix it.
  4. Don't make excuses. They don't blame others for their own errors. They take responsibility.
  5. Finish tasks on time. They set interim deadlines for long-range tasks and they don't panic when the work is due.
  6. Shoot for a good record, not perfection. They know their capabilities. People who seek perfection tend to get frustrated and put themselves under so much pressure that they rarely accomplish what they're capable of doing.
  7. Think ahead. They try to plan for all possibilities so they're prepared for the unexpected. Result: Your company experiences fewer unpleasant surprises.
  8. Don't dwell on their successes. They know there's another job to be done and quickly move on.
  9. Don't assume too much. When they have doubts, they ask for clarification.
  10. Negotiate deals and get going. They don't wait for numerous orders to be sure they're doing everything exactly the way you want.

Of course, no one individual is likely to possess all of these traits. But the more a person displays, the more likely your company will reach its goals. And one gold medal staff member can be worth three mediocre employees.

"At the end of the day, you bet on people, not strategies."

— Larry Bossidy, Former Chairman and CEO, Honeywell International

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