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IMGCA Article - The Mental Game of Business


The Art Of Team-Building

How Leaders Can Win The Mental Game In The Workplace

Bill Cole, MS, MA

"There's only one standard. Once you're stuck on the flypaper, you're stuck. If you don't set a high standard, you can't expect your people to act right."
--Donald Kendall, Chairman, PepsiCo

How well are your teams performing? How much more could you be getting out of them? What's holding them back from greatness? Are the people on your teams glad they are there? How could you support them even better? How does your leadership harm or enrich your teams?

If you want your teams to rise to their potential, you have to approach team-building from a different mind set. Modern team-building requires more than bureaucratic, heavy-handed rules and regulations, and command and control mandates. It requires updated, creative, flexible, people-centered strategies that are aligned with organizational objectives. Only then will your teams produce results that catapult your organization forward.

Here are 12 executive leadership strategies for building a world-class team that can compete with anyone.

12 Strategies For Creating World-Class Teams

1. Make Your Teams Nimble, Fast And Flexible. The best teams learn and perform on the fly. Build in extreme maneuverability in your teams.

2. Make More Teams, Of Smaller Size. Make your team size manageable and dedicated to specific issues and focus they can tackle quickly and successfully.

3. Make Sure Each Team Has A Unifying Vision And Mandate. A team vision is a winning vision. Create an inspiring view of what the team will do once it is successful.

4. Make Your Teams Learning Machines. A team that learns well is a team that succeeds. Help them learn continuously and learn vociferously.

5. Give Your Team A Special Identity And Self-Concept.
Give your team something that will make them stand out and feel special. Give them something to brag about and and to be well-known for.

6. Continually Raise The Self-Esteem Of Your Team. Assume your team will succeed mightily. Tell them you have complete faith and hope in them, and how much you appreciate their efforts.

7. Give Your Teams Decision-Making Autonomy. Speed team communication and lubricate team functioning by allowing as many intra-team decisions as possible. Reduce the organizational drag on your teams.

8. Allow Your Teams To Be Creativity Factories. Honor and encourage innovation so your teams can lead the edge. Respect bold forays into the unknown and reward big thinking.

9. Give Your Team A Nourishing, Challenging Environment. Supply your team with everything it needs for success. Support, encourage and nudge your team, and then get out of its way and let it succeed.

10. Make Your Team A Living, Breathing Entity, Not A Bureaucracy. Slash the paperwork, the reporting and the ponderous meetings. Allow your teams to infuse projects with their own blood and energies.

11. Give Your Team A Crisp, Open, Communication Architecture. Construct a friendly, smart and responsive feedback system and watch them succeed.

12. Know When NOT To Have A Team. A smart leader knows when a team should not be a team. Stop forcing inappropriate work on a team and let them do the important work they were built to do.

Teams must be respected for what they are capable of when fortified with the proper organizational nutrients and allowed to run with their mandates. To catapult your teams to new heights, get out of their way and trust they will perform to their potential.

"Winners are the people, who, when the odds are stacked against them, and those around them have fallen, will have the courage to look within themselves and make the unbelievable believable, and the impossible possible."
--C. Phillips

To learn more about how team building can help your organization reach its potential, visit Bill Cole, MS, MA, the Mental Game Coach™ at

Copyright © Bill Cole, MS, MA 2005, 2008 All rights reserved.

This article covers only one small part of the mental game. A complete mental training program includes motivation and goal-setting, pre-event mental preparation, post-event review and analysis, mental strengthening, self-regulation training, breath control training, mental rehearsal, concentration training, pressure-proofing, communication training, confidence-building, breaking through mental barriers, slump prevention, mental toughness training, flow training, relaxation training, psych-out proofing and media training.

For a comprehensive overview of your mental abilities you need an assessment instrument that identifies your complete mental strengths and weaknesses. For a free, easy-to-take 73-item executive leadership skills assessment tool you can score right on the spot, visit This assessment gives you a quick snapshot of your strengths and weaknesses in your mental game. You can use this as a guide in creating your own mental training program, or as the basis for a program you undertake with Bill Cole, MS, MA to improve your mental game. This assessment would be an excellent first step to help you get the big picture about your leadership mental game.

Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority on peak performance, mental toughness and coaching, is founder and President of the International Mental Game Coaching Association, Bill is also founder and CEO of William B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps organizations and professionals achieve more success in business, life and sports. He is a multiple Hall of Fame honoree, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published book author and articles author, and has coached at the highest levels of major-league pro sports, big-time college athletics and corporate America. For a free, extensive article archive, or for questions and comments visit him at

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