Andy Stanley on What Makes a Healthy Team


Hiring a staff is not the same as building a team, said author and leadership communicator Andy Stanley at Leadercast Live 2019. He shared that high-performing teams are those comprised of people with extraordinary clarity around the what, why and how, along with a predisposition toward execution. 

Andy’s 4 Ingredients to Building a Healthy Team:

1. Select performance-oriented people and position them for maximum impact. The right person in the wrong place feels like the wrong person. Put people where they will make their greatest contribution to the organization. 

2. Clarify what and why. Teams like to win. If your team doesn’t know what the win is or why it matters, they won’t know when they are winning.

3. Organize the what. Make sure your organization is orienting most of its resources toward what you are actually trying to accomplish. Eliminate sideways energy.

4. Orchestrate and evaluate everything. You must create feedback loops that keep you closely connected and emotionally preoccupied with the mission-critical events in your organization. Be connected with what’s happening at the ground level.


Good morning. It's so good to be here. I live here in Atlanta, so this was great, no planes, no Hartsfield, just drive on over. For all those of you at our host sites, we're so glad that you're here. And again, if this is your first Leadercast, you are going to drink today from a fire hydrant. There is going to be so much good content. You're going to have such a good time. You're going to meet some incredible people. 

And I do want to jump right in and I want to just give you a heads up. The best way to take notes on my talk is not to write anything down. It's to actually take pictures of the screen. Now, the problem with taking pictures of the screen or the screens is that you're going to get me in the picture. So you have my permission ahead of time to crop me out later when you're picking the notes that you want to keep versus the notes that you want to delete. 

I love this topic because, you know, the whole idea of building healthy teams is way different than hiring employees. And that's where I want to start. Then we want to jump right in. And I want to give you a framework for what you're going to hear for the rest of the day. 

So hiring staff is not the same as building a team. If you are simply doing something that is of marginal importance, you can just hire staff and not build a team. But if you are doing something that's extraordinarily important, then obviously you need to build a team. 

And everybody that's building a team wants to build a healthy team, and not just a healthy team, we want to build high-performance healthy teams, because high-performance people on high-performance teams do high-performance things. 

And if you're in business, and especially if you're at Leadercast, you care about your product, you care about your company, you care about your people, so this is a big deal for you. And it's not anything anybody needs to convince you that it's important. The challenge is how to do it. 

Any leader that's consumed by a desire to move the needle in his or her industry, this is a big deal. Any of you who've ever worked on a healthy team in the past and find yourself leading a team that's not so healthy, you understand the importance of this. Anybody that's worked somewhere that you dreaded going to work and now you love to go to work, you understand the contrast. 

But the question and the mystery is how do you do this? And what makes a healthy team healthy? 

Now, while many things contribute to the development of a high-performance healthy team, I've come to the conclusion there are four essential ingredients. And that's what I want to spend my time talking about. 

And I want to tell you real quickly how I stumbled upon these. As many of you know, I'm a pastor. We've got a whole bunch of churches spread all over the place. And about three years ago, I showed up on a Sunday when I didn't have anything I had to do, and I just wandered around watching this extraordinary organization do its extraordinary thing. And I thought to myself, "I'm not sure . . ." as strange as this sounds, I found myself thinking, "I'm not sure why this works as well as it does, and I'm overwhelmed with the fact that it works so well."

And we're primarily a volunteer-driven organization, with about 600 employees scattered around the city and outside the city of Atlanta. But I found myself not quite panicking, but almost panicking to the point of, "You know what? If this thing broke, I'm not sure I would know how to fix it because I'm not even sure why it works as well as it did." 

So here's a tip for you. If you don't know why it's working when it's working, you won't know how to fix it when it breaks. If you don't know why it's working when it's working, you won't know how to fix it when it breaks. And one of the problems in leadership is because we're so consumed with progress, and we're so consumed with moving forward, which is part of what it means to be a leader, we rarely do autopsies on our success. 

Now when something breaks, you know, we stop everything and we explore. We don't want to make the same mistake twice. But rarely do we ask the question, "Why is it working so well when it's working?" 

So if you are in an organization, and you're like, "You know, I'm not even sure I need this conference because I have high-performance teams, I have healthy teams," one of the best things you could do is to spend a little bit of time doing an autopsy on your success, because if it's working, you need to understand why it's working so that if it breaks, you'll know what to do to fix it. 

So I spent several months, taking notes, talking to our leadership team, refining, refining, refining, because I wanted to be able to turn around and teach the folks in our organization what we do intuitively, put some words around it, because intuition only goes so far. 

And if your current leadership team is leading well intuitively, but you don't document what you're doing intuitively, the next generation of leaders or the next layer in your organization, who lacks that same leadership intuition, is going to have a hard time sustaining the success that you're currently experiencing. 

At the same time, if you're in an organization that is not running efficiently, you need some outside information. You need to be able to listen to some people who have documented what they do when they're doing what they do well. 

So I spent a bunch of time, narrowed this down to what I think are the four essentials to high-performance healthy teams. And again, I want to give these four things to you as a structure for what you're going to hear about the rest of the day. 

But first of all, here was the macro conclusion. So if you lose interest, fall asleep, have to leave early, here's kind of the bottom line for what I discovered when it comes to healthy high-performing teams. And it's a little bit long. You may want to take a picture of this. 

High-performance teams are comprised of people with extraordinary clarity, and we're going to come back to that, with extraordinary clarity around what, why, and how. What are we doing? Why are we doing it? How do we do it here? What are we doing? Why are we doing it? How do we do it here? What are we doing? Why are we doing it? How do we do it here? 

And an extraordinary team anywhere in an organization has an answer to those three questions, regardless of where they are in the organization, with a predisposition toward execution. 

So I want to break this down, divide it into four statements, and, again, give you a skeleton upon which to hang everything else you hear today as we talk about this super important topic. 

So number one of the four, select performance-oriented people and position them for maximum impact. Not just hire, select performance-oriented people and position them for maximum impact. And again, this is a bit industry specific. I'll admit that. Recruit doers over thinkers. Recruit doers over thinkers. If you want a healthy high-performance team, you have to hire or you have to put people on your team who are doers. 

And I get in trouble sometimes when I make the following statement, and maybe it's a bit of exaggeration, but I'm convinced there's a lot of truth to this. It is easier to educate a doer than to activate a thinker. It is easier to educate a doer than to activate a thinker. 

In my experience, hiring people who get things done and then educating them along the way is a lot easier than hiring someone who's already educated and loves to think about things and come up with intangible concepts, but isn't wired and geared to do things. 

So one of the most important questions you can ask in the hiring process when you're assembling a high-performance healthy team or if you're trying to put together a healthy team is ask this question. Now I learned this from my admin assistant. This was something that they did in the company she worked with before she came to work with me. Ask this question: What have you done? 

"Now I know where you've worked, and I know where you went to school and, you know, I've got your resume. I got all that. But tell me what you've done. What have you done with your previous employers? What did you do with your . . . not your job description. Tell me something you got done." And odds are, if they can't come up with something they got done before, they're probably not going to get a lot done working for you. 

So you need to ask this question. "Tell me something you initiated. Tell me a project you came up with and you got it to the finish line," because in high-performance healthy teams, we need to hire or surround ourselves or put on our team doers not just thinkers. 

Jim Collins, many of you have read his books. He gives us an extraordinary snapshot around this idea. Here's what he wrote in "Good to Great." "If you have the right people on the bus, the problem of how to motivate and manage people largely goes away because the right people don't need to be tightly managed or fired up." 

And this is his whole idea of who before what, who before what, who before what. Then in terms of creating a high-performance healthy team, you need to think about who before what. And when you have the right people, the whole idea of motivating people goes away because the right people have internal motivation. Why? Because they're doers. They're not simply thinkers. 

So select performance-oriented people. And then here's the second part of that statement. Position them for maximum impact. This is important. The right person in the wrong place feels like the wrong person. The right person in the wrong place . . . or to use Jim Collins' analogy, the wrong seat on the bus. The right person in the wrong place, over time, begins to feel like the wrong person. 

Put people where they make their greatest contribution because, again, we're not playing checkers. We're playing chess. Everybody is uniquely designed to do something specific. And the quicker you get people in the place where they can make their maximum contribution to the organization, the better things go. 

I love this quote. It's attributed to Albert Einstein. There's some question as to whether he said it, but if I were him, I'd be happy to have this strapped onto my reputation. Here's the quote. You may have heard this before. "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it's stupid." Everybody is a genius. But if you expect somebody to do what they're not designed and wired to do, they'll fail or spend the rest of their life feeling like they're stupid. This is why the right person in the wrong place feels like the wrong person. 

So part of the magic of this formula is not simply choosing the right people. It's working hard to make sure they are where they need to be in the organization for maximum impact. 

And in this way, your organizational chart is not your friend. Your org chart is not your friend. And when we think in terms . . . I mean, org charts are necessary, but in terms of positioning people for maximum impact, when we think about the traditional top-down org chart, it gets in the way because oftentimes hiring people up through the ranks of the org chart is not the best way to get the right people in the right place. 

I suggest to leaders that they use what I call the "Pharaoh Principle." And I made this up, so if you don't like this, you can write it off. But if you grew up going to synagogue or church, you may be familiar with this ancient story about this Hebrew kid named Joseph. And his brothers are jealous, and they sell him into slavery, and the Amalekites take him, and they take him to Egypt, and he gets sold to Potiphar's household. And Potiphar is the captain of the guard for Pharaoh. 

And then he gets in trouble. He gets thrown into the dungeon. And he finds himself in prison with two gentlemen who used to work for Pharaoh. And both of these guys have dreams. And they don't have anything else to do. 

So Joseph says, "I'm pretty good at interpreting dreams. Tell me your dreams." So he interprets their dreams, and lo and behold, both of their dreams come true just the way that, you know, Joseph predicted. One guy lives a very short life. The other guy is given his job back working for Pharaoh. 

Two years go by, Pharaoh has some dreams, two dreams, back to back. He wakes up very disturbed. He's telling everybody around him, "I've had these disturbing dreams. I think they mean something." And his wine taster, his butler says, "Oh, Pharaoh, I probably shouldn't bring this up, but a couple of years ago, you and I had a little falling out. We worked it out. And we had a little falling out. I spent some time in your dungeon and I met this Hebrew kid who's pretty good at interpreting dreams. I'm sorry I brought this up. But I'm just thinking. I don't even know if the kid's still alive, but he may be somebody you need to check in with." 

So they find Joseph, the cleaned him up, shave him up, get him smelling good, looking and walking and talking like an Egyptian. They bring him into the palace, you know, and there's Pharaoh. And Pharaoh tells him the dreams and Joseph's like, "We got this." And Joseph tells Pharaoh what the dreams mean. 

He says, "This is what it means. You're about to have seven extraordinary years here in Egypt and you're about to have seven extraordinarily bad years. You're going to have so much grain the first seven years you're going to swim in it. The second seven years, everybody is going to starve to death, unless . . ." 

And then he goes a little bit further than he should have. And he starts telling Pharaoh what to do. He says, "This is what you need to do. You need to hire somebody who wakes up every single day thinking about this problem. This is going to be their focus. And they need to appoint commissioners all over the nation. And during these seven years of plenty, they need to tax 20% of the grains so that you end up owning 20% of the grain during the surplus years. Then in the seven years when nobody has any grain, once they run out of grain, you start selling the grain all over the country. And this is going to work out great for you, Pharaoh." 

Everybody's like, "Wow." And Pharaoh's like, "Well, then I need to find somebody and appoint them, and put them in charge. Somebody needs to wake up every single day thinking about this problem." 

And he looks around at all the people he's been working with, and he goes, "No." And he ignores the org chart. And he says to the Hebrew kid, he doesn't even know his name, "You're in charge. You had the idea. You had the insight. You're in charge."

And I'm sure everybody in Pharaoh's court was like, "Wait a minute. We just met this kid. We've known him an hour. We've known him 45 minutes, and you're putting him in charge of the, you know, most important project that could make the nation sink or swim? I mean, this is like the biggest thing we've ever dealt with before." Pharaoh's like, "Yeah. The org chart is not my friend. This is the kid with the insight. We'll put him in charge." 

Put your best people on your most important projects. That's how you develop an extraordinary team. The org chart is necessary, but when it comes to getting things done, sometimes it gets in the way. 

So number one, select performance-oriented people and position them for maximum impact. 

Number two, clarify what and why. Most leaders don't do this because of two reasons. It's too time-consuming, and they don't think they can reduce the nature of what they're doing as a department, a division, or an organization down to one thing. But when you spend the time answering the question, "What are we doing as an organization, as a division, as a department," or whatever your realm of responsibility, when you can answer the question, "This is what we've come to work to do, and this is why we've come to work to do it," you have struck gold. 

And here is why this is so extraordinarily important. What and why are the fuel for high-performance teams? And I can prove it. 

This is not a trick question. What do teams like to do? 

Win. Exactly. The front row, that's why you got these good seats because you knew the answer to that. That's right. This is what teams like to do. 

Listen, what and why positions your team in such a way that they know what the win is. If your team doesn't know what the win is, they don't know when they're winning, and they don't know when they've won. And high-performance, get-it-done people want to win. But if the win, if the finish line, if the goal line is a blur, or if all six of them have different ideas of what it means to win, it's very difficult to celebrate a win because nobody knows what the win is. 

And here's the thing. Extraordinary people will figure out a win that suits them and they will figure out how to win. But when you can harness the energy of a team and you predefine the win, and you line them up to win, extraordinary things happen because people like to win. 

So years ago, in our organization, I had every single department and division identify, "What's the win? What's the win?" and write it down. When you hire people, when you get your volunteers together, every single division, department, has a single statement that says, "This is the win. When this weekend's over, this is what we want to celebrate. When this year is over, this is what we want to celebrate." When we get together and decide how we're doing, we're all working off the same page. We all have identified the win.

High-performance healthy teams understand what to win. And when you answer the question, "What are we doing it and why are we doing it?" you've taken a huge step in identifying the win for your team. 

If everybody on your team can't answer those questions the same way, then you don't know if everybody's working toward the same goal or the same win or not. 

"What" provides direction, when we talk about what and why, and "why" provides inspiration. "What" provides the information and the direction. "This is what we're setting out to do."

And then when you take a few minutes to answer the question, "Why is this important? Why is accounting important? Why is getting these things delivered on time important? Why is customer service important? Why is this company important? Why is our product important? What happens if we go away? What happens in our industry if we disappear?" answering the why question is what brings emotion and inspiration to your organization, regardless of what you do, regardless of what you manufacture, or regardless of what service you provide. 

Pat MacMillan in his book, "The Performance Factor," it's a great book. It's been out for many, many, many years. He says this. "A clear, common, compelling task that is important," get this, "that is important to the individual team members . . ." Have you made what you're doing important to individual team members? 

He says, "A clear, common, compelling task that is important to the individual team members is the single biggest factor in team success." In other words, everybody on my team needs to feel like what we're doing is important. And it's my job as a leader to craft what we're doing in terms that make it feel important. And to so narrow what the win is that everybody knows when we're winning and when we're not winning and what we need to do to win. So clarify what and why. 

Now, there are two or three other big advantages of this. And I don't want to spend a lot of time on it. In fact, we talked a little bit about this two years ago at Leadercast. 

Clarity around what and why focuses energy and resources, and it quickly spotlights off-purpose projects and initiatives. When you narrow the focus to "Here's what we've come together to do, and here's why we've come to do it," resources follow vision. Passion follows vision. Energy follows an answer to the question, "What have we come together to do?" And almost immediately, anything that's off-purpose is so highlighted that people immediately recognize that and begin to ask questions about it. 

So one of the things that we did in our organization way back is . . . when you come to work for us, after three months, you get a list of questions from my office. After you've been with us for a year, you get another list of questions. And this is the opportunity for new employees to evaluate our organization. 

Because the longer you are in an organization, the less aware you are of the organization. The longer you are in a culture, the less aware you are of the culture. It's just a principle. So we want people with fresh eyes and fresh ears to evaluate us. After a year, they're one of us. They don't see it. They don't smell it anymore, right? The longer you're in an organization, the less aware of the culture you are. So we want fresh eyes. We want the insight of the people with the fresh eyes. 

And one of the questions we ask people after they've been with us three months, "Is there anything you see that we're doing, any initiative that we're chasing or pursuing that seems off purpose to you when you think about the what that we're trying to accomplish as an organization?" In almost every evaluation, somebody will say, "Well, you know, I know what we're doing, but why are we doing that? And why do we have that department? And how long have they been around, and how does this fit?" 

And sometimes, it's a matter of us clarifying why we're doing some of the things we're doing, but every once in a while, we scratch our heads and say, "That's a good question. That's an old couch. We've just been moving that old couch from house to house to house, to house. I think we need to put that old couch on the street."

And you all know what I mean by old couches. There's that couch, you decide to move, and, you know, you don't love it and you get to your new house and it doesn't fit, but it's still got some wear, it's still got some life, so you put it in the basement. And it lives in your basement for five or eight years. Then you move and you move it again, and you move it again. You know? 

Anybody else that comes to your home and sees that old couch, they think to themselves, "Why in the world do they have that old couch?" But you've kind of fallen in love with that old couch. You have memories. 

But every organization has some old couches. And the people that are going to recognize your old couches the quickest are the newest people in the organization. So giving them an opportunity to speak into whether or not you really are lined up on the what and the why is super important. 

The other thing that understanding what and why does is it will give you clarity around laying the groundwork for organizational change. Clarity around what and why lays the groundwork for organizational change. 

The best place to begin a conversation about change . . . whether this is raising your kids and your marriage, and, you know, your nonprofit, and your for-profit, the best place to begin a conversation about change is not about the thing that needs to change. You begin a conversation about change by talking about the future, what could be and what should be, what could be and what should be. 

And when you make people hungry enough about a preferred future, they begin to let go of the present if letting go of the present is a means to an end of embracing a preferred future. 

So when you get locked in on, "Here's what we've come together to do, and here's why we need to do it," it sets people up to let go of anything that is in the way of accomplishing what the organization needs to accomplish. But if you never defined the win, you don't give people a reason to let go of anything. And people don't like to let go of things because they're comfortable. I grew up seeing that old couch in my house, right? 

People resist letting go until you clarify where you want them to go. People always resist letting go until you clarify where you want them to go. And when your division, your department, your business, maybe your industry defines the what and the why, you have set them up to embrace change much quicker than otherwise they may be willing to do. 

Number three, to create high-performance teams, you have to organize then to the what. And this is tough. Once you decide your division, your department, you know, your franchise, your site, your location, whatever it might be, once you decide, "Here's what we've come together to do," then you have to ask the hard question: Are we really organized to the what? 

Now, you say, "What in the world does this have to do with, you know, healthy, high-performance teams?" Everything. Because high-performance people, healthy people want to get things done, and they don't want to waste time, and they don't want to mess with any sideways energy, and they don't want things to get in the way of what they've come to work to do. 

So every once in a while, we have to ask the question, as we look at our budget, as we look at our hiring, as we look at our staffing, "Are we really organized to and are we really channeling our energy toward the what? Or are we just doing what we've always done and just changed the words on the wall?" to create an organization where the lion's share of the time and resources are allocated to the what you are doing. If you don't, you will force people to work around the organization. 

I would imagine every single one of you has worked somewhere where you had to work around the organization. You were hired to do a job and you just kept bumping into obstacle after obstacle, after obstacle, after obstacle, and you think, "I don't get this. You've hired me to do this. You've told me what you want me to sell. You've given me a quota. You've told me how you want me to do customer service. And at the same time, I feel like the organization is in the way of me doing what you've hired me to do."

And if you let that go for too long, your best people will leave. Your progress-oriented people will leave. Your healthy people will leave. Your dysfunctional people will stay because they're not motivated by progress anyway. They just want a job. And it's okay to just want a job, but you can't build a great team with people who just want a job. 

So you've got to make sure, and this is so hard, that your organization is actually organized to the what. And as a leader, you are the only person that can make the changes or appeal to the board or appeal to your boss to get permission to change the way things are running in order to streamline things to the what. But this is a waste of time until you've answered the question, "What are we here to accomplish as a team?" 

When you're not organized to the what, it creates enormous sideways energy. You will end up with more people than you need doing less than you hired them to do. Leaders will leave. The productive people will be frustrated. 

So here's a question for you, and this is just going to bother you, and that's okay. Every time I teach this, it bothers me. This is why I love to teach this to our staff every other year. And it's why I loved talking about it today. 

Does your organization get in the way of the win? Is your organization, the way you're organized, the way you operate, is there anything about it that is in the way of the progress that you've established and you've called people to embrace? 

And if so, as the leader, you are responsible for cleaning up and clearing out the clutter. And when you do, your high-performance people will be even more high performance. And you will find more high-performance people that want to be a part of your organization because high-performance people love to win because teams love to win. 

Moving on. The last thing, the fourth part of this, is orchestrate and evaluate everything. Orchestrate and evaluate everything. By orchestrate, orchestrate answers the question, "This is how we do it here until further notified." Every great team, every great organization has some sense of orchestration. 

This is why you love Disney World. It's predictable. This is why you love your favorite restaurant. It's predictable. You show up and it's orchestrated. And you don't feel like you're getting impersonal service because it's orchestrated. You feel like you're getting more personal service because it's orchestrated. Orchestrate and evaluate everything. 

I stole this language from Michael Gerber. Some of you read "The E-Myth" or "The E-Myth Revisited." It's one of the first books we read as an organization. And we just did everything he said to do. It's a book about franchising for those of you who haven't read it. 

One of the assignments he gives in the book is he says, "You need to create an org chart for a large organization, and then you put your initials in every single box, and then you work your way up out of the boxes." And we did that 23 years ago. We came up with an org chart for a really large nonprofit organization, and the four of us put our initials in every single box, and we worked our way out of it, and it worked. 

But one of the other things he talks about in that book that's so helpful is this idea of orchestration. And here's his definition. He says, "Orchestration is the elimination of discretion." And this will bother some of us. That's okay. Orchestration is the elimination of discretion. 

But when you go to your favorite restaurant, you don't want the cook back there being creative. You want the cook to provide what you're hoping their menu says they're going to provide. You want it to taste like it did last time you came. And now you brought your friends and you said, "Hey, I'm going to order for you. Trust me." And you want it to be the way that, you know, you ordered it and what it tasted like last time, right? 

So orchestration is the elimination of discretion or choice at the operational level of your business. Orchestration serves as the playbook for the team. This is how we do it here. It brings consistency and predictability to all of your processes and environments. 

But orchestration alone leaves things stale. The reason organizations go out of business is because they orchestrate, but don't do the second half of the equation. High-performance healthy teams understand this rhythm. In fact, this may be the most important rhythm in any organization. Orchestration, evaluation, orchestration, evaluation. This is how we do it here. This is how we make it better. This is how we do it here, predictability brand, this is how we make it better. You know, we're going to keep improving, new and improved and improving, new and improved and improving. 

Orchestrate and evaluate everything. If orchestration defines your culture, which it does, evaluation is how you refine your culture. Evaluation refines your culture. Evaluation is how you make things better and how to make sure things are continuing to get better, because action-oriented people, healthy people, and extraordinary team want to win, and you can only win in your industry if you're getting better. 

Now, evaluation, like really everything I've talked about, is very industry specific. So I can't sit up here and tell you how to evaluate because it depends on what you're manufacturing. It depends on what you're selling, in terms of, you know, how you evaluate. But I do want to give you one tip that I think is relevant to every organization and every industry. And this is a little bit long, so you may want to take a picture of this. 

I've learned this the hard way, and I've learned this from others. You must create feedback loops that keep you closely connected and emotionally preoccupied with the mission-critical events in your organization. You must create feedback loops that keep you closely connected and emotionally preoccupied with the mission-critical events in your organization. 

Success distances us from the mission-critical events in our industry, our organization. The higher up you move in the organization, the further away you move from the mission-critical events in your organization. So as a leader who's creating a high-performance healthy team, you have to make sure that you have created a feedback loop that keeps you directly involved and connected to the critical events in your organization, and emotionally preoccupied. 

And here's what I mean by that. I loved Andrew Grove's book that he wrote years before he passed away called "Only the Paranoid Survive." I love the title of that book, "Only the Paranoid Survive." And this was his point. It's that every leader needs to have a healthy sense of paranoia, which means they are emotionally engaged with whether or not the critical events in the organization are actually taking place. 

So one of the most important things you can do to create a healthy team is to make sure you have identified the mission-critical events in your organization and make sure you are emotionally tied to those events. 

I'll give you an example. I have a leadership podcast. I didn't title it or name it. It's called "Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast." I know that's so original. And actually, you can find it in the management leadership seJunection of podcasts on iTunes now, which is kind of cool. They moved us into that category. 

But years ago, I interviewed Frank Blake, who was for seven or eight years was the CEO of Home Depot, on my podcast. And we talked about this. He said the mission-critical event for Home Depot doesn't take place at headquarters. It takes place on the floor of the stores. 

He said, "So when I became CEO . . ." he had never been a point leader for any organization. He said, "I didn't really know what to do, but I knew this. What happens at headquarters is irrelevant. What happens on the floor of the stores is everything." He said, "So I spent so much of my time flying around the country, putting on an orange apron, just walking the floors of the stores. Because if that doesn't work, it doesn't matter what we're doing at headquarters. 

Chick-fil-A, Dan Cathy flies his operatives all over the country, to walk the floors at the Chick-fil-As around the country. Why? Because if it ain't happening there, it doesn't matter what's happening at headquarters in Atlanta. 

Now, there's some parallel in all of our organizations. And as a leader, to create a healthy team, you have to make sure that team feels the pressure of the critical events, and the critical events probably aren't related or happening directly at headquarters, depending, again, on what kind of industry you're in. 

So orchestrate and evaluate everything. And answer this question. This is another great question to talk about over lunch. "What are the mission-critical events in your organization?" Every team has a playing field. The mission-critical events are your field. How often are you on the field? How often are you in that field? 

So, in conclusion, high-performance teams are comprised of people with extraordinary clarity around what, why, and how, along with a predisposition toward execution. So, you need to decide what's the what and what's the why. You need to hire and make sure you are surrounded with execution-oriented people. You need to get in the rhythm of orchestrating and evaluating, orchestrating and evaluating. And if you do, you will have a high-performance healthy team, and you will win. And people like to win. And I hope you win. And the fact that you're here today means you want to win. 

Thanks for having me. Your next speaker up is extraordinary. We'll see you next year. Thank you.

Andy Stanley

Leadership communicator, best-selling author and founding pastor of North Point Ministries Andy Stanley inspires tens of thousands of people. Andy founded Atlanta-based North Point Ministries in 1995, leading six churches in the Atlan...

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