What makes a great team?

18 July 2016

United Kingdom

Paul Race


What Makes a Great Team

It’s going to be an exciting summer for sports fans.  The Olympic Games in Rio, seven Test matches, rugby tours to the Southern Hemisphere and of course Euro 2016.  Picking a winner isn’t easy, but retrospect makes us all experts.  Whatever the sport, we armchair fans can all name our ‘greatest’ teams, whether it’s Brazil 1970, the West Indies cricket side of the 80s or indeed the 1974 British Lions.  All these teams achieved success at the highest level but there was also something special about them that still evokes vivid memories.  Which begs the question – what makes a great team?  Again, from the perspective of my armchair, I would list the following:

• Team spirit – they are motivated to achieve a united goal
• Preparation - even the most skilled individuals need to be coached to be part of the team and they will need to execute a plan
• Durability and consistency – not just a one-off performance.  They have a competitive edge that produces results
• Forward planning and anticipation – they have researched the opposition and focus on what they are good at
• Leadership – on and off the field encouraging an innovative but disciplined style of play
• Team selection – having the right players in the correct positions
• Success and recognition – the results tell the story

I would add one further point to the list - Great teams also have tradition, success doesn’t come overnight and there is no substitute for experience.
When you come to think of it that list isn’t too different from what you would expect from a great company. Of course the key is a consistent, innovative, effective strategy.  Beyond this the company will need to recruit a highly-skilled trained workforce that has values instilled by a strong leadership team.  Research and Planning will play a key role in ensuring the company is prepared for the challenges of a changing environment and brings innovative new products to market.

How are companies measured?  Ultimately it will be by results.  Not by individual wins but by consistent performance over a period of time.
Whatever the industry there will always be various claims as to who is ‘the best’ or ‘the market leader’, though the meaning of this latter term is left somewhat vague.  What are the facts you can trust? In this respect we at Glory are fortunate that in the area of Teller Automation Units there was recently a broad-ranging independent report carried out by strategic research and consultancy firm RBR.  Amongst its conclusions was “Glory was the largest TAU deployer at end 2014”.  It went on to say ‘its terminals have been deployed in all 26 countries surveyed (in the report) and it is the largest deployer in 19 of these’.  According to the report Glory had a 59 percent market share of TAUs worldwide.  We also had a 52 percent market share of recyclers worldwide.

A few years back I read an inspiring book by Jim Collins entitled ‘From Good to Great’. The opening sentence is ‘Good is the enemy of great!’  A feature of any great team is that it does not dwell on past results but is continually looking at ways to improve. It’s all about ‘accelerating momentum’.  For us it’s about finding new, better solutions to address the challenges facing our customers today and tomorrow.  At Glory we are not prepared to stand still, rather we intend building on what we are good at. The fact we spend $160 million a year on R&D is just one indicator of this.

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