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How to Win

How to Build a Championship Team

If you’re a boss or a coach, you want a great team. You want to build a champion!

Here are some tips from Rajat Taneja of Electronic Arts. I’m struck in particular by No. 3, “Hire for uncommon strengths.”

Too many people hire with the idea of avoiding weaknesses. Championship team-building involves hiring with strengths in mind.

Mike Bossy, a Hall of Fame hockey player for the New York Islanders, shows this principle in action.

Bossy was a top-level goal-scorer whom the Islanders snatched up when it was their turn in the draft. Bossy was not a great defensive player, a point that came up in the post-draft interviews.

“Defense?” sniffed Islanders general manager Bill Torrey. “The other team will be playing defense against him!”

Torrey was hiring with strengths, not weaknesses, in mind. Sure enough, Bossy went on to become one of the greatest scorers of all time. He helped the Islanders win four Stanley Cup championships. And, yes, he even learned how to play defense.

None of that would have been possible if Torrey had looked at Bossy’s weaknesses.

So to build a championship team, look for uncommon strengths!


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