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How to Mold Your Fantasy Team and Create Your Ideal Culture

Opinions expressed by entrepreneur Contributors are their own.

Everyone who is hiring typically wants the best person available, whether it’s a quarterback, product manager, defensive end, or developer. But what happens when the best person for a position isn’t the best person for your team?

In the NFL, where personalities can be larger than life, many talented players are considered the worst teammates of all time. Some have been on winning teams, but their teammates might have preferred it if they weren’t.

It can be tempting to enlist the best individual player for each position and hope they all get along and win. They could be pushing each other to improve and thrive, or they could all clash and create a toxic environment. The alternative is to bring together people who work so well together as a team that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Before you can make up your mind, you need to determine what type of team, aka “culture,” you want to build. In football, you might want to focus your resources on building the West Coast’s best offense around a standout player like Tom Brady. However, if you think the run-heavy Smashmouth offense is best, Tom Brady would probably be frustrated and not the best for the team.

Some teams choose to be known for their killer defenses that cripple other teams, so adding a JJ Watt would be amazing. But he doesn’t fit into the team if you don’t surround him with proper support players.

Different players have different playstyles that work for some teams and not for others – the same goes for the office.

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Related: Tom Brady helps us understand the importance of employee loyalty

Find out which side of the ball you are on

No football team steps onto the field without deciding what kind of team it is and what players it needs to be successful. The same applies to business: we cannot throw employees together at random and expect to end up with a winning team.

As a leader, you need to establish the culture you want to achieve and find the people who might fit in. Want to build a team of individual Superstars focused on racing to the top? Or collaborative team players you can’t wait to have a beer with at the end of the day?

One approach is not inherently better than the other. But each has its own set of values ​​that are demonstrated at work – an office that values ​​individual contributions is a very different workplace from one that prioritizes relationships with colleagues. Once you have established the corporate culture you wish to nurture, it will be much easier to align all employees so that you can move seamlessly towards your goals.

There is no one “right” culture

Establishing workplace culture is not a one-size-fits-all approach. The culture at Google might not work for a brand new startup, and the person who dreams of being the next Elon Musk might not thrive at a small, family-oriented company. We have to find the culture that works best for our company and our people.

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Job dissatisfaction often stems from a cultural mismatch – you would never put Tom Brady on defense because you would be wasting his skills and he would be unhappy. If you work in a cutthroat, go-anywhere company but value teamwork and work-life balance, you will be miserable and unable to fulfill your highest abilities. To be successful at work, we need to find a workplace culture that values ​​and supports what we uniquely have to offer.

Related: What football teaches us about the sales strategy of startups

Form your fantasy team

Establishing the best culture for your company begins during the hiring process. We can’t hire people to just fill one spot if we want them to be successful over the long term. We may not hire every person we hire correctly, but if we hire with our culture in mind, we will have a much higher success rate. To a somewhat lesser extent, this also applies to job seekers. There may be times when we need to prioritize finding a job to pay the bills, regardless of cultural fit. However, if we want long-term fulfillment in our careers, we should seek work that fits our needs and values ​​our skills.

So how do we build this workplace fantasy team? Whether you’re looking for new team members or an employee looking for a new job, asking the right questions during the hiring process is key to finding a culture fit.

At my company, I conduct the first interview to ensure that every prospective employee fits into our established culture. At this first meeting, I always ask how they have dealt with challenging situations in the past. This question helps me find employees with a growth mindset who are not afraid to make mistakes, are willing to ask for help when needed, and are team players even under stress.

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Nonetheless, these are my Priorities, and another interviewer may ask completely different questions. I’m looking for people with a growth mindset and positive attitude because I know we can train them no matter what their background. However, if you’re running a fast-moving startup, you might want to hire people you know can take off.

As a potential employee, you should ask the interviewer about the work culture and do some research online beforehand. If work-life balance is important to you, ask questions about how often you expect to work weekends. If career advancement and rapid promotions are your priority, ask about growth opportunities and a typical promotion schedule.

Finally, if you hire someone who doesn’t fit into the company culture, it is the responsibility of leadership to speak to managers and let the employee go or help them adjust. And if you’re an employee, if you have the means, don’t be afraid to leave a company that doesn’t suit you.

Related: Running a business is like playing soccer

Find your team

You must be purposeful when looking for your next job or associate. Go beyond the ABCs outlined in the job requirements and consider: what am I trying to achieve and what kind of people do I want to work with? Some might want to win the Superbowl every year and be inducted into the Hall of Fame, while others just want a stable career and a reputation for kindness.

We can’t all be Tom Brady or JJ Watt, winning the Superbowl or firing quarterbacks, but we can can Find the team that allows us to thrive with our unique talents and gifts.

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