Teams vs. Stars

June 27, 2011

What would you rather have – a few exceptional individuals that are several levels above all those around them in expertise and productivity or a tight team of average people?

The common wisdom, especially in the high tech fields, is that you go for the exceptional individuals.  In fact, it has become something of an accepted truism in this area.  Facebook, LinkedIn, Groupon and etc. all seem to lean this way and go for the “stars” in their fields.

Apparently that has been successful to this point.  But how does that fare for the long-term?  Will a group of stars actually outperform a good team of average people in terms of the long view?

In a post on the Harvard Business Review blog, Bill Taylor co-founder of Fast Company magazine contends that the team will outperform the stars over the long-term. He uses some sports teams as examples as well as some companies that have lasted for a very long time.

In my personal experience a good team outperformed a group of stars.  I played football for a very small school.  We had a coach who had a deep understanding of leadership and how to build a team.  We were tight and played well together and we consistently beat teams from bigger schools that had much, much better athletes.  All because we had a leader that knew the importance of how to build a team and to get the best from each of us.

So personally I believe a good team of average people will outperform a group of stars over the long term.  What do you think?  It appears that Mr. Taylor’s article stirred up so much activity that he had to write a follow-up article.  Check it out and let me know your opinion on this subject.

Grace and peace to you as you serve our Lord,

One response to Teams vs. Stars

    Russ Simonson June 28, 2011 at 9:12 am

    Stars are great, except for one thing…they know they are stars. It seems to me that, typically, they tend to be spoiled rotten brats. (forgive me selfless stars).
    I would take an average team anytime. There is nothing more celebrated than a sucessful underdog. GIve me the team!!