Have you heard of Perfect Fitness? You probably know their first best-selling product—the Perfect Pushup. Remember when we all used to do push-ups the old fashioned way, with our bare hands on the floor, before a push-up bar was developed to save our wrists from injury?
After the success of the Perfect Pushup, Perfect Fitness was at a crossroads. Despite having a successful product they were under siege. Lower-priced, copycat products were entering the market daily. The fitness segment they dominated was now in danger of being won over by cheaper brands.
Fortunately, Walmart wanted to feature the Perfect Pushup in all their stores. There was one catch. Walmart wanted a cheaper version of the Perfect Pushup and to be delivered in 90 days or they would promote a cheaper competitor’s product instead.
The founder of Perfect Fitness, Alden Mills, recounts in his new book Unstoppable Teams, he didn’t think long on that proposal. Saying no would mean losing a large market of buyers but saying yes presented him with a large and daunting challenge. He said yes and in a massive undertaking, he developed a prototype, manufactured it, and delivered it to Walmart stores—in under 90 days!
He was able to do this because he had learned the principles of leading high-performance teams, which he outlines in his new book.
Leading great teams all starts with the leader having control of his or her own platform. Mills says you cannot lead a great team unless you can first lead yourself. To lead yourself, you must focus on the only things within your control: your mental, emotional, and physical capabilities. You will also need great people.
Where do great teams come from? They come from hiring people with the complementary skills and strengths you need for your company. You not only need to know yourself well but also your company’s needs to employ these skills. This is why it’s important to connect with your teams.
In order to get your team to follow you, you must know the people that make them. You need to connect with them mentally and emotionally. This is done by building your credibility as a leader and showing it through consistent and committed behavior. If you do this, team members will trust you and be willing to follow you to achieve great results.
To achieve results, you need to inspire people, assure them, and assess them. You must give people lofty goals to aspire to, evaluate their efforts as a team, and show your appreciation for what they do. When people have something to work for, feel fairly evaluated and appreciated, they will do more for you. But you can’t forget respect.
Mills says as a team leader, you reap what you sow. If you show respect to your team members, you’ll get respect from them. You’ll earn their respect by recognizing each person’s contribution to the team. The more you respect your teammates, the more they will be engaged. Another way to show your respect is to empower your team.
To achieve great things, you must empower your teammates. Ideas don’t come from the leader alone. They come from each member of the team. When you empower teammates to find solutions, you will get the best ideas.
If you want to learn more about how to lead teams, check out Mill’s book or contact BigSpeak to hire him for your next event.
Kyle Crocco is the Content Marketing Coordinator at BigSpeak Speakers Bureau, a graduate of UC Santa Barbara, and the lead singer of Duh Professors. He regularly publishes business book reviews and thought articles on Medium, Business 2 Community, and Born 2 Invest.