How to build a winning team

 “Crowdsourcing” was a word often heard during the Boston bombing investigation. Key evidence came from outside the public safety sector that led to identifying suspects and gathering evidence. Law enforcement reviewed hundreds of onsite photos and video from camera phones, along with social media messaging, to bring an early solution to the baffling situation.

According to Wikipedia, Wired Magazine’s Jeff Howe, was one of the first to use the term “Crowdsourcing” in a 2006 blog post. Webster says “crowdsourcing” is the “practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community.”

But we can’t underestimate the team-sourcing by hundreds of law enforcement personnel—skilled, professionals worked onsite, overtime, and across bureaucratic lines to collect evidence and make arrests in the same investigation.

Two roads, same destination

Leadership usually travels along two roads to a destination:  “I think we ought to.” and “What do you think we ought to?” Instead of a top-down memo as the primary motivation for production and service, successful leaders team-source their projects.

Ken Blanchard said, “None of us is as smart as all of us.” Building a solid team is essential. And it’s smart. You will accomplish more if you learn to tap the resources of others. Team members are not a threat to your leadership; they’re essential to your success! It’s been said that individuals sign autographs, endorse products, and grant interviews, but teams win championships. You will do more, engender more goodwill, and live with less stress if you team-source.

Off the starting block

Crowdsourcing may happen spontaneously, but team-sourcing is planned:

  • An objective is defined.
  • Goals are plotted and described, along with accompanying deadlines.
  • Current and future team members are chosen based on objective-relevant skills and past performance.
  • Team goals and objectives are communicated through orientation and training.
  • Team assignments, deadlines, and reporting instructions are distributed.
  • Supervisory follow-up assignments are made.
  • Progress reports are evaluated based on team performance.

Five questions for guiding the team

A leader’s responsibility is to motivate and manage teams.  

  • Is the team fully aware of the objectives and goals?
  • Has the team been resourced and authorized to do the job?
  • Are team members being personally affirmed and encouraged?
  • Is the team focused?
  • Is there collaboration among team members?

You can build a winning team. Keep working—and keep working together.   


You are loved.




Photo: U.S. Navy photo by Charles D. Gaddis IV