collaborative teamwork

Pat Flynn – The Power of Collaborative Teamwork for the Entrepreneur: From Solopreneur to SPI Media and Beyond (AoL 200)

In the last session, I brought up the books Key Person of Influence and OverSubscribed both written by Daniel Priestley and one thing that these books have made is that the dream of the solopreneur is a pipedream. In fact, as a business owner, we need to seek collaborative teamwork as soon as possible.

And, as I’ve been telling people in my day to day life, I think these books are as vital to someone’s success as an entrepreneur as Rich Dad, Poor Dad and The E-Myth Revisited are. Sure, you can go without reading any of these books… but I highly suggest you don’t pass them over.

For the longest time, today’s guest might have been considered the Ultimate Warrior of Solopreneurship. In fact, for much of its history, Smart Passive Income (SPI) featured Pat Flynn as the Crash Test Dummy of Online Business. And if he could start a six figure passive income business on his own, anyone could.

But here’s the thing. For several years now, he’s been part of a team. Sure, he’s been the head of creative at SPI, but he’s been part of a team.

And I have to admit, when that transition happened out of the blue, I (and I’m sure plenty of others) felt left behind.

But as you’ll hear, when he joined forces with Matt Garland and his team, things completely changed. The power of collaborative teamwork began changing his business and his life.

Listen in as Veronica and I hear about his Pat his journey of leaving the legend of the great solopreneur behind to join his own team of Avengers.

I think it’s a lesson we all have to hear moving forward.

Enjoy!

SPECIFICALLY, YOU’LL FIND OUT MORE ABOUT:

  • If Pat was the main protagonist of a Disney movie, how would it start? 13:42
  • What made Pat finally start his podcast? 18:39
  • What factors does Pat believe give his show staying power? 21:34
  • When it comes to SPI, who is Jess and how did her getting involved with the brand open doors to what it is today? 24:34
  • What were the indicators that it was time to start growing the SPI team? 27:36
  • How did Pat meet Matt Garland originally? 31:09
  • What tactics does SPI use to keep everyone working in their strengths? 35:01
  • What were some of the takeaways Pat had after doing the Income Stream daily for an entire year? 37:17
  • After doing the Income Stream for a year, does he prefer podcasting or the live stream? 40:39
  • How can someone realize when the business is ready for the solopreneur to take a step back? 42:37
  • How do you know it’s time to embrace collaborative teamwork? 45:54
  • Where does Pat see entrepreneurship after the pandemic and what does he want to do more of? 48:49
  • Who are Pat’s top 3 influential people who have helped him get to where he’s at today? 53:37
  • Who would cause Pat to be starstruck if he had the chance to interview them? 54:20
  • What’s the biggest plot twist Pat has seen in his professional life? 55:50
  • If Pat was sent back to January 1st 1990, what would he do to prepare? 59:40
  • How can someone be a difference maker in their community? 1:01:57

ITEMS and PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

Pat Online: SPI, Personal Website, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube
Cohost: Veronica Kirin
Powered By: SPI Pro
Pat’s 100th episode
Cliff Ravenscraft
SPI 115 – Jess comes on to the scene of SPI
Adam Baker – Man vs Debt
Bonusly
Clockwork – Mike Michalowicz
Decisive – Chip and Dan Heath
Ramit Sethi
Michael Hyatt
The Social Dilemma

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.

SHOW NOTE EXTRAS:

How to Build a Blog in 4 Minutes:

What Pat Learned in 10 Years of SPI:

Pat’s Kids See his Book in a Bookstore

365 Minutes of the Income Stream on Day 365


Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining us again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The AoL Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and we read each and every one of them.

If you have any questions feel free to email them over via the email mentioned in the show or by our contact form.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on CastboxiTunesStitcherPodBean, and/or Google Play Music. It’s absolutely free to do so.

A huge thank-you to you guys for joining us!

Cheers!

Desmond Clark – Creating a Standard of Winning – Key Insights for Developing Lifelong Skills for Success (AoL 192)

As we’re getting started in this second year of potentially a two or three year pandemic “clean up” plan, there’s going to be plenty of time for us to really adjust and think about where we fit in the world. It’s a great time to develop our skills for success.

What do I mean by that?

Well, it’s a forced transition period for all of us. What might have been our identity in the past, might not work in the PAE.

That said, one group of individuals who all have to go through this major life change sometime in their career are professional athletes. Like our guest, Desmond “Dez” Clark says, if your identity was wrapped up into your job (as an athlete), you’re going to have issues when you can’t do that job anymore.

Luckily for Dez, he knew who he was before his career as a professional athlete. So when he finished up, yes, there was a transition period, but he was the same Dez who used the game as a means to get what he wanted.

In this chat with him, Ya’el and I learn a little bit of what he’s learned over the years through these transitions and how he’s been able to stay the course during his life using those experiences.

Enjoy!

SPECIFICALLY, YOU’LL FIND OUT MORE ABOUT:

  • Where did Desmond’s early leadership mentality come from? 8:46
  • How did he develop a vision for his athletic life and able to stick to it? 12:11
  • When did Dez realize it was time to transition into a new life/identity? 17:07
  • Why does he believe his success wasn’t a coincidence? 20:50
  • How did Dez start realizing that failures aren’t necessarily endings but just learning opportunities no matter the cost? 25:00
  • How does he actively build relationships to help him and those around him get to the next level? 28:11
  • Is there a secret to gauging if a conversation is a winning conversation? 29:43
  • What’s a bad day look like to Dez? 38:25
  • What is he looking forward to in 2021? 41:06
  • Which teachers have helped him get to where he’s at today? 42:53
  • If he could ask anyone living a dead a question, who and what would he ask? 43:11
  • Which issue should be discussed more today, yet hardly anyone does? 44:01
  • What advice does he hear adults give children which he’d like to call BS on? 44:21
  • What’s the secret to achieving personal freedom? 45:02

ITEMS and PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

Desmond Online: Website, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram
Cohost: Ya’el Johnson
Powered By: FREE GUIDE: Uncover Your Personal Mission

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.

SHOW NOTE EXTRAS:

Highlights from Dez’s NFL Career

Dez shares discusses his role as President of the NFL Alumni Chicago Chapter

Kevin Hicks interviews Dez

Tim Schumm interviews Dez


Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining us again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The AoL Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and we read each and every one of them.

If you have any questions feel free to email them over via the email mentioned in the show or by our contact form.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on CastboxiTunesStitcherPodBean, and/or Google Play Music. It’s absolutely free to do so.

A huge thank-you to you guys for joining us!

Cheers!

business team

Dirk van Reenen – A Great Challenge Means Great Opportunity – How to Build a Pivot Ready Business Team from Day 1 (AoL 180)

For a lot of business owners, the pandemic has cost them their livelihood. For example, Yelp! recently shared that 55% of the businesses using their platform which closed down due to the pandemic aren’t coming back. What’s a business team to do when you’re looking at those kinds of numbers? How can you avoid having to close down?

The answer, I believe, is all about being able to make a pivot. And this is something we’ve been discussing in great detail on the show.

Unfortunately, for some business teams, pivoting might not be too obvious. Sure, curb service and delivery for some restaurants makes sense, but what if your restaurant wasn’t so much a restaurant, but a bar? What if you’re reliant on a market that’s not doing so great right now such as realty?

Today’s guest, Dirk van Reenen, excels at helping teams focus on the foundations of business and how they scale their businesses in ways that they might not have noticed before. In fact, with the future looking like things will be changing faster and faster, it’s important that all businesses know how to quickly pivot.

So what does that look like? Well, the first thing is all about building the right team – and that’s where today’s conversation takes us.

Listen in as Andy and I learn more about Dirk’s business BERGflow and how it might benefit those of us going through or preparing to go through a hard time.

Enjoy!

SPECIFICALLY, YOU’LL FIND OUT MORE ABOUT:

  • What’s the path that Dirk followed to eventually starting BERGFlow? 9:45
  • Where did the name BERGFlow come from? 15:20
  • What are some things people need to consider when building a team as a solopreneur? 20:24
  • What challenges does remote work give to a group who’s forming into an effective team? 26:50
  • If a leader finds themselves in a situation where there’s trust issue in the team, how can they get back some of the control in their group? 32:02
  • According to Dirk, what’s the importance of a business team building something worthwhile? 38:54
  • What kind of things is Dirk looking forward to as we move into a different world post-pandemic? 45:40
  • What’s the best advice he’s ever received? 51:40
  • Which three books does he gift or tell others about? 52:11
  • What’s the smallest decision he’s made that has had the largest impact in his life? 54:22
  • What’s one thing all high school students must know? 59:01
  • What’s the secret to achieving personal freedom? 1:01:41

ITEMS and PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

Dirk Online: Website, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube
Cohost: Andy Dix
Powered By: Kennected
Documentary – Happy – (Flow in BERGfow comes from this documentary)
Rocketfuel – Visionary / Operator (or Integrator) relationship
David Osborn- Dirk’s Mentor
e-myth revisited
Chris Tuff AoL Interview
Think and Grow Rich
The Fish that Ate the Whale
The Road Less Stupid – Keith Cunningham
Loving What Is – Byron Katie

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.

SHOW NOTE EXTRAS:

How to Navigate the Early Stages of Shift

Adapting to the Shift

Where is the Bottom of This?

What are you doing to Pivot and Move Forward?


Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining us again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The AoL Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and we read each and every one of them.

If you have any questions feel free to email them over via the email mentioned in the show or by our contact form.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on CastboxiTunesStitcherPodBean, and/or Google Play Music. It’s absolutely free to do so.

A huge thank-you to you guys for joining us!

Cheers!

ethical issues in business

Michael Ainslie – Navigating Ethical Issues in Business – Why Doing What’s Right Ultimately Makes the Difference (AoL 169)

As we grow more successful, it can be easy for power to go to our heads. We can start to think we’re unstoppable. This is especially true on the grand scale when we see ethical issues in business headline the news.

One right now, for example, is the rehabilitation of the Boeing 737 Max line of aircraft. It has turned into an epic crisis in the last couple of years for them as they simply have not done well in addressing the issue. Nor did they really do a great job of mitigating it either. Whoever made the decision to cut corners and create the software which caused a couple flights to crash, obviously shouldn’t have cut those corners.

Another example was back in 2008 when Lehman Brothers had to file for bankruptcy. Out of all the things that went on that year, I still remember watching the news as the threat of that particular crisis grew more inevitable. When it finally did, the market plummeted… as well as the savings and lifestyles of many people who thought they had done things right.

Today’s guest, Michael Ainslie, was one of the group of people that had to make the decision to file for Chapter 11. Sure, making the decision was tough, but it was the right thing to do.

Being part of that board hasn’t been his only rodeo, however. He was also the CEO of the internationally known auction house Sotheby’s. Let’s just say they had a few things they had to deal with during his time there as well.

In his new book, A Nose for Trouble, he shares with us how he’s been able keep his head through all the adversity in his career.

In this chat, Andy and I get the chance to learn a few things you won’t hear on any other interview of his!

Enjoy!

SPECIFICALLY, YOU’LL FIND OUT MORE ABOUT:

  • If Michael wrote a screenplay for his life, where would the opening scene be? 9:42
  • As a first hand witness, how do highly successful board members end up in a orange jumpsuit in a prison? 14:38
  • What kind of people do these types of people hire as leadership for their companies? 16:29
  • How was Michael able to keep himself from being consumed by the power he’s had in his career? 20:38
  • How does he suggest executives balance the line between the what’s right and the needs of different stakeholders? 22:04
  • What can Xennials and younger generations of entrepreneurs learn from the mistakes of leaders who have gone before them? 27:06
  • What advice does he have to a company who’s trying to rebuild their brand and reputation if they’ve been dragged through the media? 32:38
  • What’s Michael looking forward to in 2020? 34:34
  • Who are his 3 top influencers are teachers who have helped him get to where he’s at today? 39:54
  • What’s a gift he loves to give others? 40:29
  • Is there a documentary that he’d recommend people watch? 40:26
  • What’s Michael’s favorite social custom? 42:02
  • How can someone be a difference maker in their community? 42:40

ITEMS and PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

Michael Online: Website
Cohost: Andy Dix
Session Sponsor: Fizzle – A REAL entrepreneurship community with REAL advice!
Corning World Travel Fellowship
Sotheby’s
Lehman Brothers Bankruptcy
Elon Musk on Joe Rogan
Alex Heard – Chancellor at Vanderbilt U
Ron Daniel – Managing partner at McKinsey
J. Leslie Rollins and the Ohio Fellows Program
Fork Over Knives
Mort and Barbara Mandel Recreation Center

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.

SHOW NOTE EXTRAS:

Michael on the passing of Morton Mandel

Royal Poinciana Chapel New Garden

Michael’s interview with Bloomberg Radio

Interview with Kerry Lutz of the Financial Survival Network


Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining us again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The AoL Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and we read each and every one of them.

If you have any questions feel free to email them over via the email mentioned in the show or by our contact form.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on CastboxiTunesStitcherPodBean, and/or Google Play Music. It’s absolutely free to do so.

A huge thank-you to you guys for joining us!

Cheers!

business culture

Connecting the What with the Why: How to Create Business Culture and Strategy the Right Way

“Everything rises and falls on leadership” is a phrase often heard in the startup and corporate arenas. As we’ve talked about in the past, leadership can be described by our influence on others. And with that influence automatically comes our business culture.

As creatives, we need to be aware of this culture that we’re building from the very beginning of launching our business.


Why is that?

Well, culture can be defined as a pattern of beliefs, behaviors, and values, encouraged or discouraged by people or processes over time.

So that means, whether we’re actively promoting a certain culture or not, one is being formed around the work we’re already doing.

So let’s talk a little bit about how we can get ahead of that culture as we’re scaling and growing our business.

It Starts with a Mission

Last week I had the opportunity to be part of a workshop called the Mission Roundtable. In this workshop, we focused on helping people in business find out what their personal and corporate missions were and then use that info to determine their values and vision. Once those were clear, we then set out to learn how we can create a unique strategy and culture for our business.

As you probably guessed, I was all about the part where we focused on determining our missions. This is something that I’ve thought about in quite a bit in the last year or so. In fact we recently had a guest on the podcast to discuss it.

Being part of this roundtable was not only clarifying for me, but also validated what I’ve been finding out.

For me, the reason I went into this research was fairly straight forward. As I’ve met more and more people in the entrepreneurial space, I’ve learned that many new entrepreneurs fail to learn how to connect who and what they’re about with the work that they’re doing.

The problem with this is that they’ll start doing one thing, realize they’re not being fulfilled, and then go on to try something else that might fulfill them.

Basically, they’re recreating a job for themselves.

Not only that, but many go hard core into this new role, go crazy with the grind, and come out the other end thinking “I’m more unhappy now than I was when I started!”.

Finding your own mission and being part of a company that reflects those qualities is an important foundation in doing meaningful work.

Vision and Values

Once we have our mission and have aligned it with our business (or the organization we’re a part of), then we can move onto the next step.

Determining what your vision and values are.

Now, I’m sure if you’re reading this post you know what both are. Your vision is simply where you want to be. And your values are the characteristics of yourself and your team as you get there.

If you’re like me, you’ve probably even written them down for yourself sometime in the past.

It’s possible what you haven’t done yet is to think of those values and your vision from the perspective of your personal and company mission. Even more, many of us might not even be fully using the vision or values we currently have in place.

If you’re not utilizing your current vision and values, why is that? Where’s the disconnect? If you’re not sure, it might be time to draw up a new vision and values to get you there. It might be as simple as the fact you might have a mission now, but the vision and values don’t fit that mission.

All of this should be aligned.

Strategy and Culture

Ok, now that we have those fundamental building blocks in place, it’s time to come back to our business culture and strategy.

Without vision, we can’t really develop a strategy. And without values, we’re going to have a heck of time developing a culture.

Now that we have those in place, though, we can now develop both.

Strategy

So first thing is strategy. Of course, when we’re developing a strategy for anything, we need to know what the rules of engagement are. We want to make sure the moves we’re making aren’t leaving anything on the table. We also want to make sure we’re being as efficient as possible. 

To do that, we need guidelines. 

Now that we have thought of our vision, we have these guidelines. 

We should also know 3 things:

  • What our company does.
  • Who the customer is.
  • What our customer values.

Once you know what those are, you can much more easily build your strategy.

  • Of course you want to begin with the end in mind, so what do you want to achieve in 3-5 years?
  • What options do you have to get there?
  • After choosing an option, what are your next steps? Reverse engineer from where you want to be from where you’re at.

Many make the mistake of not being clear with the answers to these questions, so while you might be taking action, you’re not actually getting anywhere because you haven’t clearly planned out what you want.

Culture

When it comes to building culture, for many creatives it’s seen as something that they can put on the back burner. What’s the point of building a culture when it’s perhaps just you and a few VA’s?

While this perspective might seem ok when you’re first starting up, it can cause big issues in the long run.

However, because we’ve already developed our list of values, then getting an idea for what our culture is isn’t really too difficult.

Organizational Clarity

First thing? Let’s look at the big picture and get organizational clarity. Here’s a few things to consider:

  • What’s our brand and story say about us? When people think of what we’re doing, what comes to mind? How are we described?
  • What’s the structure of the team? If it isn’t formed yet, what will it be? Will there be a hierarchy? Will it be centralized with you in the center? Or will you be part of a decentralized team?
  • What roles are there and what is each person in charge of? The more defined this is from the get go, the less problems there will be down the line.
  • What’s our communication process?

Leadership Clarity

When it comes to leadership in our organization we need to lead by example. Do that and I think you’re at least halfway to being a great leader.

That said it also helps to make sure that our team can work autonomously. While we might want certain things done a specific way, it’s important that we don’t feel the need to constantly micromanage.

However, many times we aren’t always at the top. And in those instances, we have to be aware of where we fit and interact with those around us. 

John Maxwell addresses this in the 360 Degree Leader. In the book, he shows middle managers how to leverage their unique positions and become 360 degree leaders by exercising influence in all directions–up (to the boss), across (among their peers), and down (to those they lead). 

While he goes into much more detail, the gist is that we need to do a few things as a middle manager:

  • Follow our leaders humbly. (Without being a yes man.)
  • Inspire those around us (by example).
  • Manage our subordinates individually. (Never criticize in public.)
  • Influence Lovingly (Don’t have an ulterior motive.)

Relational Clarity

Finally, when it comes to where the rubber really meets the road, it’s all about relationships. Another book of John Maxwell’s (and a favorite of mine) is called Everyone Communicates, Few Connect. And really, the better our relationships with those around us are, the better the system works.

To make sure that we’re connecting with those around us in our work, it’s important to focus on a handful of principles here as well:

  • Define and pursue the same goals (teams with goals win, those that don’t lose)
  • Believe in something bigger than ourselves (believe you’re in it for the greater good!)
  • Collaborate rather than compromise
  • Develop strong relationships (care about others, they’ll care about you)
  • When necessary, engage in constructive conflict resolution.

Action Steps

So as you can see, it’s imperative that we do the work to zero in on what our personal and business missions are. Only when we have them can we build on those to develop our culture. When we have the culture we want, it’s so much easier to build and scale our businesses simply because those folks who don’t fit, normally filter themselves out before they start working with you. 

If they do fit the culture, then it’s so much easier to move forward and actually accomplish goals.

So, again, if you haven’t done so yet, start from the beginning and determine your own personal mission by checking out Uncover Your Personal Mission. From there, work out the other sections until you have an idea for how things are going to be handled differently by your current or future team.

business ownership

Jeff Gamble – Gaining Perspective through Business Ownership: How One Entrepreneur Survived the Ride of His Life (AoL 156)

Business ownership comes in many forms. The goal of this show has always been to expose the listener to as many ways to start earning 6 or 7 figures a year. In the last session, our guest, Chris Prefontaine, built his income generating machine through real estate investing. Then, in session 150, we had Corbett Barr on who told us about how he managed to make Fizzle from the knowledge he knew about monetizing traffic online.

In this session, I had the chance to speak with an influencer here in the Indianapolis area about his background in various businesses including multi-level marketing (MLM).

As you guys probably know, I’ve been a fan of properly ran MLM groups for years. For instance, way back in session 23 of the show, Laila and I had the opportunity to interview soon to be Amway Diamond Mark Nathan.

What he and today’s guest, Jeff Gamble, can tell you is that a large part of being successful in the network marketing arena is affiliating yourself with great people.

Pair this experience of his with traditional business and the result is someone that knows a lot about what it takes to be successful entrepreneur and leader.

But don’t think that this journey of his has been easy. He’s had more major setbacks than anyone I know.

Even if you’re not interested in getting involved with an MLM company, let his story be one of inspiration to you in whatever you’re pursuing.

Enjoy!

SPECIFICALLY, YOU’LL FIND OUT MORE ABOUT:

  • How was Jeff initially exposed to the multi-level marketing industry? 9:14
  • What life event made him change his perspective and look at other ways of making income? 16:02
  • When it comes to network marketing, what kind of benefits does Jeff believe associates get? 44:14
  • What are some things that people should consider when getting started with a MLM company? 53:21
  • What’s Jeff looking forward to in the not too distant future? 58:57
  • Who are three influential people who have help get him to where he’s at today? 1:01:39
  • What job or business would Jeff like to try out for a day? 1:01:49
  • What’s the smallest decision he’s made that’s had the most impact in his life? 1:02:05
  • Is there something that every high school student should know? 1:02:25
  • What’s the secret to achieving personal freedom? 1:02:45

ITEMS and PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.

SHOW NOTE EXTRAS:

How to Fix Your Credit:

John Maxwell’s Law of Leadership #20 – Explosive Growth

Going Executive Director Show Episode 78

Jeff Working Out and Getting Max Gainz!


Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining us again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The AoL Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and we read each and every one of them.

If you have any questions feel free to email them over via the email mentioned in the show or by our contact form.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on CastboxiTunesStitcherPodBean, and/or Google Play Music. It’s absolutely free to do so.

A huge thank-you to you guys for joining us!

Cheers!

team culture

5 Ingredients in Developing a Strong Team Culture

This morning I had the opportunity to go to the Next Level Indiana Fund Summit. It was an event where members of the capital venture arena addressed what the scene looks like here in Indiana. These members included government officials, representatives from the various funds, and entrepreneurs who had successfully built their businesses through funding. As I listened to these talks, a particular concept came up to me again and again. Each organization had a strong team culture.

What’s a Strong Team Culture Look Like?

When you think of a team culture, you might think of a particular sports team. I’ve written about various examples of sports teams with great cultures in the past. Duke Basketball, Duke Football, and the Colts are recent examples.

From these examples, we can see that culture is made up of certain parts. A culture has values, beliefs, attitudes and the certain behaviors that are important to the team. We can also see that if culture isn’t intentionally defined from the start, it will likely be defined by the weakest link.

If we let it get this far, then that’s when we feel we have to implement all kinds of precise rules, processes, and systems.  When this happens, members of the team feel like their personal perspective doesn’t matter. It demotivates your A-Team members. That becomes a much bigger problem REAL quick!

Essentially this is what we saw with the Colts when Ryan Grigson was General Manager. While he might have been a great talent scout and brought in a few good assets to the team, unfortunately, he didn’t set the right culture. Therefore, when then coach Chuck Pagano had to do his job, he practically had to babysit the players for every play. Unfortunately, he wasn’t too great at being a micro-manager and we ended up with plays like this. As a result, over time there was an overall feeling of distrust between the players, coaching staff, and the front office.

When Chris Ballard came in to take the reigns, he knew this had to change. So, from the very get-go, he started to define the new culture of the team. Add in Frank Reich last season, and you have a team of high trust, where the effective players believe in each other, the organization, and where it’s going.

Building a Strong Culture

So now that we have a bit of an idea of what a bad culture can yield vs a good culture, how do we build a strong one?

A good example of building a strong culture can, again, be seen in this recent post about the Duke football team.

But if I was to summarize that particular post, there’s a few takeaways that we need to have.

1. Single Team Vision

The first thing we need to realize is that while a team might have many voices, it has one mission and one vision. This means that the vision is a team effort – including the leadership. When they act and do things a particular way, the team will take notice and start to do what they see leadership doing.

Meaning, if the leadership wants the team to put in the hard work, they’ll have to put in work first.

Remember there’s no such thing as leading from behind.

2. Abundant Belief

The next thing we should notice is that a winning team believes that it is a winning team. This means that the leaders believe in the team, the team believes in each other and the leadership, and even more so, each individual on the team believes in themselves.

3. Appreciation of Ourselves and the Team

Many times, we leaders have a hard time appreciating our own little wins. Reason often is that we’re so focused on accomplishing the vision that the little wins we have along the way, don’t really count. They’re what’s supposed to happen. We might feel a little bit of satisfaction, but that’s about it.

However, when something doesn’t go quite the way we want it, that’s when we usually get somewhat emotional. And it’s because of this tendency that many of us tend to get sucked up into a downward emotional spiral.

That being the case, as leaders, we need to so gratitude towards our own accomplishments as well as those of our team members. If you need help with this, there’s a few resources I’d recommend. The first is the Five Minute Journal. If you’re not familiar with this journal, it’s an actual daily journal that helps you appreciate the things that went right during the day. That way you can get in the habit of appreciating what’s going right for you personally. If a hands on version isn’t your style, there’s an app for both iOS and Android.

Then, there’s the 5 Love Languages. And while many think this is for romantic relationships, there’s actually an edition for the workplace. This book is useful when you’re trying to learn how to show your appreciation of those in your immediate circle.

And last but not least is the John Maxwell book called the 25 Ways to Win with People. If you’re familiar with his book called Winning with People, then you’ll want to grab this whenever you need a refresher.

4. Active Participation in Team Discussions

One of the things I’ve noticed with winning teams is that all members of the team have a chance to input their thoughts on what’s going on. As a leader, it’s your job to help the members of your team feel that they’re welcome to offer their input. Of course the best way to get them to do this is to ask more questions. And when they respond, actually pay attention and get clarity on what they’re saying.


When we pay attention to the members of our team, we can bring out the best in them.

5. Live with Intention

As with all things, we need to keep focus on the fundamentals. So, it’s important that we keep our vision in front of us. If you work with your team in person, put the vision somewhere where people are constantly reminded of it. For example, the Colts have done this by issuing a shirt that reads 1-0 – meaning do what you can do now to put yourself in a position to win the next game.

With this focus on fundamentals, it’s easier for leadership to develop and uphold a particular standard of work ethic.

Action Steps

Ideally, the best time to start working on a team culture is when you’re new to a position. It was always so much easier for me to set the expectations of a classroom on the first day as opposed to week 5 or later.

However, if you do find yourself in a situation where you need to develop a culture for a team you’ve been leading for awhile, then there’s no better time than now to get started.

Of course, you’ll have to use a little bit of change management to successfully move the team from where they are to where they need to be.

So, a possible suggestion of this is to give them the new vision and let members of the team help you figure out the details in how that’s going to be accomplished. Then once you have the details in place, work on the expectations. How are you going to do things and how will they do what they need to get done? And then after that is determined, work with them on figuring out a process of accountability. What happens when they don’t get a certain task done a certain way and on time?

Using this type of communication will certainly help your team form and develop a new culture.