I’m a sucker for a good team. My entire career, I’ve loved being a member of a team. Working for a greater goal and learning from each other are two of the reasons I find being a team member so compelling. I also enjoy a little drama, or “poking the bear”, from time to time because it can spur creativity and better performance. Now, you might think I like teams because I’m an extrovert. That’s partially true. I do like the commraderie, but it’s more than that. I love having a team of rivals.
The first time in my career that I was truly alone (picture the contestants from the TV show Alone where they are dropped in a forest with predators and no weapons, no food, no fire and they have to make it work) was when I started my own analyst firm. I loved being in charge, making all the tough decisions, pushing myself harder than I ever imagined. I quickly found, however, that it was lonely, so I rounded up several other independent analysts to partner with me. Now, did I choose mediocre analysts with dated views? I did not. I chose people I deemed as my biggest rivals because ultimately, I knew they would drive me to greater achievement.
The benefits we found were many. Greater revenue for all, more interesting projects, and sharing resources so that we were not in it alone were a few. I learned that if you’re on a team where there is no diversity and no one to challenge you, you won’t shine, you’ll fail. The idea that “having rivals on a team will disrupt things” is correct. But, it leads to a more calculated approach to the goals and can even push innovation or creativity in ways you’d never expect.
So, think about your team. Are you all alike? Is there group-think? If you answered yes, consider shaking it up and hiring a rival. You just may surprise yourself with your results!