The Secret to Great Teams

By Todd Dewett, Andersen Alumnus, author and speaker

It’s not a secret, but more like a secret sauce with a few essential ingredients. If your goal is to help a team grow from good to great, this is for you. The answer is not high pay, abundant resources, or hiring certain personality types. Instead, over time as you hire, train, coach, and manage performance, be mindful about how you support these three key ingredients.

Purpose Over Paycheck

Sure, money is important, but it’s only a minimal foundation for building a high performing team. Purpose is far more essential. That’s a feeling that the work matters because it serves worthy causes and helps you feel connected to something special. It comes from quality role alignment, clear goals and expectations, positive supportive relationships, and an appreciation of the impact created by the team.

Chemistry Over Talent

Strong talent is essential, but not enough. A lot of talent never lives up to its potential. Chemistry is about knowing how to work together effectively to harness and leverage talent. That means people know and respect each other’s roles, are willing and able to help others when needed, and have a healthy respect for everyone’s unique abilities and how to use them to achieve shared goals.

Belief in Possibilities

Great teams know that more is always possible. They see current standards and the status quo as places to begin, not limits to what’s possible. They feel safe enough to speak up, take smart risks, and fail and learn something new. For great teams, creativity and innovation aren’t ideals, they are energizing lived values.

Great clients, employee superstars, and superior market positions come and go. The shifting of situational factors will force typical teams to fall, and many go down for the count. Great teams endure. They add a little persistence and perspective on top of the three qualities above and continue evolving and creating.

What about your team? How would they react to these ideas? Don’t guess – make this a topic for at your next team discussion. Check the defensiveness and remember that growth often begins where comfort ends. Good luck!

Dr. Todd Dewett is one of the world’s most watched leadership personalities: a thought leader, an authenticity expert, best-selling author, top global instructor at LinkedIn Learning, a TEDx speaker, and an Inc. Magazine Top 100 leadership speaker. He has been quoted in the New York Times, TIME, Businessweek, Forbes, and many other outlets. After beginning his career with Andersen Consulting and Ernst & Young he completed his PhD in Organizational Behavior at Texas A&M University and enjoyed a career as an award-winning professor. Todd has delivered over 1,000 speeches to audiences at Microsoft, ExxonMobil, Pepsi, Boeing, General Electric, IBM, Kraft Heinz, Caterpillar, and hundreds more. His educational library at LinkedIn Learning has been enjoyed by over 30,000,000 professionals in more than one hundred countries in eight languages. Visit his home online at or connect with Todd on LinkedIn. He can be reached at