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Phil Cooke Podcast

Jun 11, 2019

Building effective teams is an important leadership skill that many leaders get wrong. Here are my 5 key mistakes that are holding many leaders back from the amazing work their team is capable of.


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Do you have a message or story the world needs to hear? As a Hollywood producer and media consultant, I offer advice for leaders and creatives each week on filmmaking, digital media, publishing, strategy, communication, leadership, culture and faith – to help you reach a greater audience.


Building Teams: 5 Things Leaders Get Wrong

Good leaders know how to develop a great team. The key isn’t just maximizing the talent of each member, it’s also about combining that collective talent to do amazing things.  But there are five key mistakes I see leaders make over and over that keep them from building a legendary team…


  1. We don’t understand what teams are for.Leaders make decisions;teams execute decisions.I love working with teams, but their greatest strength isn’t makingdecisions, it’s executing those decisions. Leaders – don’t delegate your authority.Make sure you’re using your team for the right thing.


  1. We don’t fire enough people. Firing people is not about kicking people to the curb, it’s about helping them find the place where they can contribute and grow. Ultimately you have to get them out of the job they’re failing in right now. And remember, just because an employee is loyal, doesn’t mean they’re actually good at their job.


  1. We think an open door policy is a good thing. We’re finding that the trendy “open spaces” office concept simply isn’t working. It’s too loud, people don’t have privacy, and it’s incredibly distracting. There comes a time when you should shut the door and get to work.


  1. We make our teams too big. Numbers can be relative, but once a creative team gets past eight or so people, it doesn’t accomplish much because there are just too many opinions. I’ve always liked the advice from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos about the size of effective teams: “If you can’t feed your team with two large pizzas in a meeting, you’re in trouble.”


  1. We make team meetings too long. Never forget that people are really good for about 40 minutes or so and then need a break. When it comes to meetings, get creative. Find an interesting location, lower the distraction level, help them focus, create an agenda, and perhaps most important – end on time.


If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, build a great team.  – Phil Cooke




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