In the eight years since I took an early retirement from Sports Illustrated, I've had the chance to serve as keynote at a number of Accelerent events as well as corporate gatherings for companies around the globe. It was after one of those speeches that Microsoft executive Eric Martorano asked me what sounded like a simple question: "What makes a Great Team great?" I thought immediately about high performing teams from the business world as well as winning sports franchises like the San Antonio Spurs, the New England Patriots and the St. Louis Cardinals. Why are some teams inherently more dynamic, effective, and healthy than others - even if their collective resumes look identical in terms of ability, drive, and experience? More important, why can some teams remain competitively relevant for long periods of time while others fluctuate in effectiveness and results?

What I couldn't think of was an absolute answer to his question…so I set out to find it, traveling the world to talk to the greatest team builders for instruction. During scores of interviews it became apparent that these teams are driven to create a culture of greatness. Trendy offenses, tricky defenses, or "hot products" often get the credit for success, but the truly amazing organizations don't stay at the top of their marketplaces without building a team- first culture. After studying the subject carefully I found sixteen defining habits that special teams— the ones that are in a class by themselves, that accomplish more than just a winning season or a successful fiscal year, that pack extra punch and bring a degree of excitement to what they do— all share. These traits can be worked on independently by individual team members, but the truly outstanding teams use them to build on one another. Organizations that exhibit real greatness combine talent, relationships, and innovation in a variety of ways for the sake of achieving a shared goal.

In my new book Great Teams: 16 Things High Performing Organizations Do Differently, I provide a wide variety of examples from both the sports and business worlds of teams that achieved real greatness— and some that fell short. By examining what worked, what didn't, and the reasons why, we can find clear, actionable steps that will help leaders in any field establish a culture of greatness within their organizations. Be sure to download the first chapter of the book for free.   Download Now

I would love for you to continue to grow with Accelerent and with me.