The founders from Google, Tesla, Apple, and Pixar walk into a bar...what do they all have in common? Successful companies, yes, but, more importantly, fantastic teams.

Forming a cohesive team seems simple enough, yet, why do companies struggle to maintain employees and effective strategies? There is no question companies like Google, Pixar, Apple, and Tesla have reached momentous success in their industries. How did they do it?

A company is made up of individuals. How those individuals work with one another and are led determines the success of a company.

Hiring

Who is hired matters.

Steve Jobs, founder and former CEO of Apple Inc., firmly believed in investing time into “good” people. Settling for mediocrity was not an option. Jobs hired people based on passion and endurance, not experience. Passion is what drives people and, more importantly, drives consumers to purchase. He knew hiring like-minded people who were all “A-team” material would lead to cohesiveness and quality work.

Google hires employees in the same way calling it “googliness.” They rate a person on their passion, personality, and whether or not they fit into the mold that is Google. Each person brings a different skillset to the table that ultimately forms the “organism,” or team.

A balance between these personality traits leads to a perfect team:

  1. Results-oriented

  2. Relationship-focused

  3. Rule follower

  4. Innovative thinker

  5. Pragmatic petitioner

At both of these companies, a loaded resume may be impressive, but is ultimately surpassed by passion and personality.

Passion

First and foremost, the leader must be passionate.

Simon Sinek, an author and marketing industry thought leader, states that a leader leads by example. When a leader demonstrates care and purpose into every detail of work, employees feel inclined to replicate that attitude. If the boss is invested, her/his team is invested.

Humans want to make an impact and have meaning in their lives. When everyone, including the executive, is working willingly towards an ultimate goal, the company is like a fine tuned machine.

Elon Musk, CEO and founder of Tesla, is a motivator for his company.

Sacrifice

As a leader or chief marketer in a company, sometimes decisions are made based on what is right or best for the company or employees. This may mean self-sacrifice (including in some cases, one’s own job) for the achievement of the overall goal.

If employees see their superiors sacrificing, these acts of service give the workers a sense of purpose, duty, and trust in the company.

Trust

Trust goes both ways. The employee needs to trust the company will take care of them. The company needs to trust the work ethic and dedication of the employee.

Elon Musk believes in having trust in his workers to be self motivated. He hires an efficient team to run themselves. Similar to Jobs, Musk hires a balance of personalities that are all “A-team” material. Since they each are considered to be part of the “A-team,” they expect the best from one another, hold each other accountable, and enjoy working together.

Musk also believes there must be employee trust in the company. Employees need to have a sense of trust so that they are willing to make mistakes and learn from the mistakes. When a company commits to people, people commit to the company - it is a two-way investment.

Pixar/Disney emphasize the importance of equality, representation, and creative flow in their marketing, brainstorming sessions, and leadership.

Structure

Team members must feel valued. Their work reflects that of upper management. The actions, beliefs, and thoughts of leaders trickle down to affect the productivity of the entire team.

Pixar understands this. Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar, ensures that, regardless of title, during staff meetings all opinions are equal regardless of title/level. They practice this by holding meetings at a wide table with people of all job titles present. This method creates a collaborative environment where people brainstorm together and the flow of creativity or innovation is not stunted by a title or position.

A company should be run by ideas, not a singular individual. Jobs encouraged others to challenge and prove him wrong.

Jobs, Musk, and Catmull have all admitted to surrounding themselves with brighter, more accomplished people who offer stronger and better ideas than their own. Any sort of entitlement needs to be cast away in order to build the best teams and companies.

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