Let’s Talk… Teams


In order to build the best team for your business, you really need to have the right people. It’s all about the right attitudes so sometimes the most qualified person isn’t always the right fit.

In this week Let’s Talk we discuss the formula for building the best team.

If you want know how to have a solid team that results in a great culture and productive work environment, have a read of this week’s experts answers below. 


Anna Thomas, COO of Stockdale & Leggo: 

In order to build the best team for your business, you need to recruit the right people with the right attitudes, meaning that the most qualified candidate may not necessarily be the best fit. Within my own company, I want employees who are eager to learn and able to work well with others – and I always look for enthusiasm over experience. Why? Throughout my many years in business, I’ve found that inexperienced employees can always be upskilled, but a bad attitude can be impossible to correct. Despite an impressive work history, an employee who lacks passion and drive will never secure the best results and their attitude can actually interfere with the overall atmosphere of the workplace. My advice is to take your time throughout the recruitment process and refrain from hiring until you find a candidate who reflects your cultural values and can merge seamlessly into your team.

SuperEd, Co-founder and Chairman, Jeremy Duffield:

Startup teams need a driver to set the mission and provide the energy boost required.  But I’ve always preferred startups with more than one driving leader, as it’s rare for one person to bring the full package of skills.  So, getting the division of labour and the chemistry right between founders is critical to success.  Startups can go awry if leaders can’t work together or fall apart on differential visions.

From there, it’s getting the right team “on the bus” — setting the mission that everyone can see and believe in.  And showing a gameplan that gives people the targets they can deliver on to help deliver success.

Even in a tech world, it’s still about people, skills and motivation.  And respect for both effort and accomplishment, as well as the way they go about it.  The best leaders care deeply for their customers and for the individuals in their teams.

Tim Bos, Co-founder and CEO, ShareRing:

Building the best team requires you to hire talented people who have a great attitude and energy. This is particularly important in startups where things aren’t as ordered as more mature businesses and you need people who can navigate any disorder with humour, optimism and responsible self-care.

Remember to say thanks and acknowledge when your people do great work and even just good work. People who show initiative often go the extra mile and make sacrifices and it’s important that this is not overlooked. Goodwill is vital.

Provide people with goals rather than detailed position descriptions. Let them know what the business is trying to achieve together and then let them loose with their talents, strengths and creativity to figure out how to achieve those; avoiding the rigid boundaries that lock people into narrow roles; and encouraging people to help out their teammates where they can, so they can achieve together, and even thrive together.

Build trust. Show trust. All the above either contributes to this, or relies on this for a team to work well and achieve together.

Noah Abelson-Gertler, CEO, ShareRoot:

The number one key for building the best team is recognising that you are never done in your effort to do so, as there are always improvements to be made.

Each company and person has a different philosophy, and the vulnerability to be who you are both as a manager and as a team member is extremely important; it is therefore vital that the fear of being shamed or disrespected for not acting or presenting in a certain way is removed from the workplace and team members are empowered to be themselves.

Other strategies for building the best team include:

– Communication is key and without it misunderstanding can quickly progress into disagreements, fights and a lack of empathy between people. Once this happens, the path to repair can either be arduous or not feasible.

– Through the use of tools and meetings, give team members the capability to be productive and also accountable: they want to produce good work, be effective, and be recognised for both.

– Celebrate the wins (even the small ones) to ensure everyone feels involved and responsible for the successes of the business.

Alex Hattingh, Chief People Officer, Employment Hero:

Building a high performing, engaged and happy team starts with a great manager, and most importantly, requires trust and psychological safety.

An effective manager cultivates an inclusive team environment, where it is safe to ask questions and talk about mistakes, and provides a clear vision, cascades informations, as well as links the team’s purpose and each person’s role to the overall company mission.

Building the best team involves regular cadence, 1-on-1s with team members, where they drive the agenda; a manager needs to coach their people and help remove roadblocks to transparent communication, because upward feedback to a manager about what can be improved on contributes to a stronger team. A manager has to have an action plan and execute on the feedback if it is to be impactful.

And finally, real-time recognition when a team delivers on OKR (objectives and key results) reinforces how powerful working as part of a team can be.

Amy Eliadis, Director of Merchandise, ONTHEGO:

The formula for building the best team comes down to collaboration and communication. I manage a large geo-diverse workforce here at ONTHEGO, and having a team where everyone feels equally important, and no job is above anyone – irrespective of seniority – is what drives our team’s success. The other key factor to building a great team is open communication. While there is structure and hierarchy, we allow each team member to own their respective roles and communicate freely. In doing so, we end up with an inclusive and encouraging environment where each team member feels empowered to add value to the group thereby driving our business forward every day.

Sophia Zhao, Managing Director, E2 Media:

The secret for building a great team is sharing a common goal and building a team that works collaboratively and not as individuals. At E2 Media, we have a talented team of professionals who work seamlessly together. With their expertise I know I can rely on them to collaborate effectively to execute a task in times of need. Reliability and trust are therefore key ingredients for building a great team. Finally, having an inclusive workplace culture is important for allowing members of staff to speak freely and share their thoughts and ideas without fear of feeling judged or rejected.

Anthony Enright, People & Culture Business Partner, Ansarada:

There isn’t an exact formula, it’s about finding out what works for your business. Firstly, it’s about finding the right people, people who are smart and have the passion to get behind a collective purpose.

Secondly, we don’t work in silos. We share knowledge between all business teams by working closely as units rather than independent departments. This relies on having sophisticated technologies to enable real-time communication and task management.

Finally, values help teams move faster and solve problems more effectively. Our values are customers, courage, curiosity and influence which we incorporate into everything we do and every decision we make. We work in a complex environment requiring us to solve difficult challenges as a team. When in doubt about making a decision, teams can learn these values to make faster decisions with more autonomy and confidence.

Ben Pfisterer, Head of APAC & Australia Country Manager, Square:

We put a lot of effort and value into making sure we build cohesive and high-performing teams. Although the word culture is overused and often misunderstood, it is critically important. Ultimately the aim is to bring together a diverse group of individuals who complement each other in skill-set and drive to succeed while sharing a common goal.

The biggest learning I’ve had when it comes to hiring is being hands-on in the process, especially in the early days, to make sure that you get the right talent in the door and that you provide them with an amazing workplace where they can achieve.

If you focus on these basic tenants, a unique yet strong culture will emerge organically which enables high-performing people to stay engaged and challenged enough to contribute to ongoing growth and success.”

Shane Baker, CEO, TAS:

An effective team is centered on members who value collaboration and trust above all else. Without these characteristics, the team cannot progress together in a way that will enable outstanding work. A sense of structure within a team is also an often-overlooked ingredient for successful synergy. This can be achieved through meaningful delegation and the provision of clear direction to ensure workers can get on with the job in a way that enables them to produce exceptional results. While all team members are hit with new surprises and daily demands, knowing what the bigger picture priorities and objectives are for the day and focusing on them first is always the best way for all team members to stay on track and deliver the best results.

Linda Simonsen, CEO, FuturePeople:

The key to building a high performing team is to recruit effectively, with a focus on culture and values, as much as on technical skills. Secondly, a leader’s role is to foster the team culture and help everyone lean-in to achieve collective goals. Leading with, and recruiting for, Emotional Intelligence (EI) is essential to creating a culture where people respect diversity, can handle healthy conflict and work collaboratively together. With the rise of the gig economy and workplace flexibility, team focus and collaboration is more important than ever.

Rafael Moyano, CEO, Adecco Australia:

Mutual understanding is the most important factor when it comes to forming teams and this is only achieved through effective communication. Today’s workers are so used to interacting through devices, there’s a danger of their verbal confidence being chipped away. Without any follow up, it’s incredibly easy for an email or instant message to be misinterpreted in terms of intent and tone, which could lead to underlying tensions and ineffective ways of working.

Robbie Sampson, OrbitRemit Founder, CEO:

Whether a business is hiring its fifth or fiftieth employee, building the right team will always be hinged around finding people who share the same values and interests as each other and your organisation. It’s important to recruit team members who understand and support the vision of your business, and will be active and engaged within the company’s community. The heart of a business is its people, and having good team chemistry creates a culture that makes people want to come to work.

Building a great team also involves the workplace environment. Creating a place where people are listened to, understood and appreciated through genuine actions by the company is something that will retain established employees and help recruit new ones. Everyone at OrbitRemit knows my door is always open if they want to talk, and this culture of constant collaboration is vital to a thriving workplace.

Dr Jana Matthews, Australian Centre for Business Growth’s director and ANZ Chair in Business Growth:

The first step is to find the “best” candidates for your team. They will be attracted to a compelling mission statement, so be clear about your company’s purpose – its “why”. An unambiguous set of values to guide behavior and a vision of where you want to take the company will also attract these team members.

Recruit for people with high levels of functional competence in areas like marketing, sales, finance and operations. During the short-listing and interview process, look for those who match the values of the company, but be careful not to hire those who look like, think like or act like you. Instead, look for people with diverse perspectives and experiences. Lastly, once they are on board, take time to orient them, learn how to delegate, engage them in the planning process, seek their counsel before making decisions, and share leadership insights with them as soon as feasible.

Michael Morris, Head of Talent, Employsure:

“Building a high performing team is not just about finding individuals that are capable to complete the tasks or elements of their job, but more about how they apply your company values in their work daily.

That is why we have built the Employsure performance equation which forms the foundation of everything we do; to ensure we have built a strong team. The formula is:

Performance = Capability x Values squared (P = C x V²).

This formula for us symbolises that whilst capability is important for any individual and is the qualifier, it is their values that are paramount and what differentiates them in their role. We recruit, train, measure, recognise, develop, reward, and promote based on this principle.”

Monica Watt, General Manager, Human Resources and Administration with ELMO Software Limited:

Innovation, communication and collaboration are key ingredients to team building, as well as transparency. The days of working in silos are over as today we build cohesive teams, and strong individuals that are driven towards a unified goal.

A notable recent trend in the workplace today has been the rise of a people-first approach to talent and culture. Behind this shift is an emphasis towards people, teams, ecosystems, employee experiences and complementary skill sets. People are our biggest asset, and one of the best ways to build teams and motivate our people is by genuinely finding out what they care about.

From recruitment and throughout the employee lifecycle, communication and collaboration are pillars of our organisations success. Regular check ins with individuals, teams, as well as groups or communities within an organisation that are working on key projects, are essential to keep our people motivated, informed, collaborative and productive.