Picking teams

Sanjoy Ray leads an IT Innovation team at one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. The team’s projects are ambitious, risky, and by definition, upsetting to the entire organization. It’s their job to rock the boat by introducing new technologies that change the way things are done.

The teams that form around each initiative are dynamic, with members enlisted from various parts of the organization. They are established, work hard toward their goals, and then are disbanded as innovations ultimately become a part of standard operations. Establishing and running these teams is a huge element to getting this work done. Doing it right is a critical success factor.

Sanjoy’s insight here is useful for all of us – pick teams based on enthusiasm for the task. When faced with a choice between bringing the most skilled and experienced person or the most enthusiastic person onto the team, go with enthusiasm. As Ray explains:

This approach has led to extraordinary performance and commitment, even under challenging conditions, solely because all involved have outperformed in ways which were driven largely by their sheer excitement about the experiment.

I couldn’t agree more. Enthusiasm can make all the difference in the world.

Photo credit: jankintza_ikastola