Three Leadership Secrets for Building a Great Team

My Leadership Chat Co-Host Steve Woodruff and I are thrilled to be welcoming Terry Starbucker, Co-Founder of the inimitable SOBCon Conference, as our Guest Host for Leadership Chat tomorrow night, June 7th at 8:00 pm Eastern Time!

The topic Terry has chosen is, “Leadership Essentials,” which is near and dear to his heart.  You see, when Terry was given his first, real leadership role he was essentially thrown into the pool and told to swim.  Fast.

He recently wrote an eBook about this experience, with his thoughts on the advice he should have received those many years ago.

The eBook is entitled, “The Five Lessons You Need to Learn Before You Jump in the Pool,” and I’ve decided to splash around in one of them this week:

#4: Know the “Secrets of Work”

I absolutely love this lesson.  Terry talks about having found the secrets to fulfilling and life-enhancing work that all leaders should know in order to provide such an environment for their employees:

1. Work must be done with passion

2. The work must be for a cause greater than ourselves

3. It ultimately must be fun, or it is not worth doing


Just today I spoke with a client CEO who is leading her company in year-over-year growth of 25%.  This is staggering in today’s economy, especially in her industry (retail).  She knew that this growth, though exciting and rewarding to lead, was leading to new challenges for her employees.

I asked her about the values of the company – if there was a set of values that would hold everyone together in such a challenging time.  She explained to me how a number of years earlier they had hired a team to do extensive interviews within the company to determine how the employees defined the company, and came up with eight words that ultimately became the company values.

Passion was at the top of the list.

If you want to drive phenomenal growth, you need people with passion for the journey!

A Greater Cause

What’s the “bigger idea” that your organization stands for?

It’s usually easy to identify it within non-profit organizations (“hope,” “a cure,”…).  What about for-profit organizations?

Patagonia’s bigger idea is to enable its customers to adventurously, and sometimes almost spiritually, experience the wonders of the natural world.

Most companies in the health care industry want to save and improve lives.

And American Airline’s recent, “We Know Why You Fly” campaign tells us their bigger idea is, “experiencing life,” not “transportation.”

Know what your company’s bigger idea is and hire team members who are inspired by and committed to that greater cause!


Self-explanatory.  Or is it?  Is it necessary or a “nice to have?”  We’ll debate this during Leadership Chat but in my opinion, having a team of people who jump out of bed in the morning excited to go to work, and who love what they do, is simply priceless.

Effective vs. Great

What I love about Terry’s Lesson #4 is that he is very clear about three things:

1. These three “secrets of work” are necessary to build a great team, not just an effective team.  A great team is the kind you want to emulate and be a part of.

2.  You need all three of these “secrets” working together in order to be truly great.

3.  Not only are they the ingredients of a great team, they are the essence of fulfilling and life-enhancing work…which we are all either blessed to be doing or are aspiring to do.

What do you think? Did Terry get these secrets right, or did he forget an ingredient in the “secret sauce?”

Read his eBook to learn all of his lessons, and please join us tomorrow night, June 7th at 8:00 pm Eastern Time for what promises to be a riveting and enlightening Leadership Chat! We look forward to seeing you there!


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Photo is Construction Begins on Wiesbaden Army Family Housing by US Army Corp of Engineers Europe District.


  1. Hi Lisa, thanks for getting the conversation started for tomorrow’s chat! I’ll be interested in hearing other thoughts on the ingredients of that “secret sauce” for a great team. Thanks for the honor of co-hosting, and all the best!
    Terry Starbucker´s last blog post ..10 Enduring Leadership Lessons for the 21st Century My Favorites- Volume II

    • You’re welcome, Terry! We are honored and thrilled to have you guest hosting with us tomorrow night. Hoping for a very lively conversation! All the best to you as well, see you tomorrow…

  2. Hi Lisa,

    Point number 3 on ultimately must be fun, or it is not worth doing is absolutely essential. We spend 1/3 or more of our time at work, if we are not having fun doing it then it is not worth coming to work.

    I always stress the fact that having a team environment is essential to our success. Everyone must be willing to roll up their sleeves and help one another, because the team would only succeed if we all work together to accomplish our goal.

    One final note, it is also important to collaborate and connect while having fun at work.


    Will Lukang
    Will Lukang´s last blog post ..Happy Customers and Angry Customers

  3. Lisa what a tremendous Blog. I am starting to focus my energy on developing my leadership skills and your thoughts, ideas and shared content are invaluable. For me you are the though leader (no pun intended) in this category.

    I am really interested in these Tuesday night Leadership chats, unfortunately I have commitments each Tuesday night during these times. Do you keep any records of the discussion?

  4. I’m going to be brutally honest and tell you that I am hip deep in the Not Fun Stage of building my dream. It’s the slogging minutiae crap that is outside my core competency, but it’s something of which I am capable and so I’m doing it. It needs to be done, and as Chief Cook and Bottle Washer, ultimately, it’s up to me to get it done.

    That said, my Ultimate Goal is driven by the passion that led me to start down this path in the first place. What’s more, when I get a chance to share our mission with others, I get The Juice or the reminder of the fun parts – enough to keep me moving forward.

    It’s not moonbeams, unicorns and singing flowers all the time, and right now, I’m a bit of a cranky “leader.” But I share my crankiness with people who let me be cranky (don’t let anyone else in the world know, m’kay? Let’s keep this among friends).

    When it’s fun, it’s REALLY fun, and I just need to remember that during the slogging parts. :)
    @mckra1g´s last blog post ..mckra1g- Frappuchinos &amp Es summer reading list for senior yr @ Barnes &amp Noble http-4sqcom-ljbEnW

    • Molly, I love this because it’s just so heart-felt and real! Your last line is critical – when it’s fun it’s REALLY fun – so that keeps you inspired in some strange way during the not-so-fun parts. Thanks for being so honest about what it takes to pursue your passion. And I promise to keep it amongst us! ;)


  1. […] While both of us typically write a topical “warm-up” post for the Monday/Tuesday before each weekly chat, today I’m going to take a slightly different tack (Lisa’s excellent post is here: Three Leadership Secrets for Building a Great Team). […]

  2. […] Three Leadership Secrets for Building a Great Team | C-Level Strategies – Visionary Leadership. […]

  3. […] Three Leadership Secrets for Building a Great Team | C-Level Strategies – Visionary Leadership. […]

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