A good team is critical to achieve success in most things (family, business, sports). However, I’ve spent a large amount of my life trying to answer the question “What makes a great team?”. Whether it’s been through wrestling, or our business, I believe it comes down to two critical factors; every team member knowing their expectations and setting goals. Even at our company, we've struggled with both of these things. As most things things in life are, it’s a work in progress. Yes, a good team is aware of their expectations and meet them as needed, but to truly attain a successful great company, we realize we need to take it one step above.
Let’s start with expectations. For our employees this is two-fold; what’s expected of them, and what they expect their teammates to do. Seems pretty simple - our employees know what’s expected of them, and they know what to expect out of their peers. This creates responsibility, and accountability in everyone’s actions. However, where the next step above comes in, is each team member has the added expectation to support one another, in any role. For example, we believe it’s essential for every team member to help wherever they can. I am not a believer in titles. I am a believer in being a Brex team member. To me, there is no such thing as a dedicated operator or a laborer, but everyone in our company to be a team member. Operators help laborers and vice versa. These qualities are what takes us from being a good team to a great team.
The next critical aspect we focus on is goal setting. Our philosophy is that everyone has something to improve on, personally or work related, and we want to encourage our employees to have aspirations. These range in scope but could be as simple as learning a new skill, or as advanced as learning a new role. But it all starts with a question some people have never been asked before “What do you want to do?”. Again, this seems pretty simple and fundamental. However, we push our employees to think further, and above what they think is possible. Honestly, it’s something I learned a long time ago in my wrestling career from the legend, Dan Gable. He told me to set your goals to what many may consider being unattainable. First, it seemed crazy and daunting, but once I practiced this, his message became crystal clear - Set your goals high. By doing this, this ensures you set your work level above your opponents. As they always say in wrestling, outwork your opponent and you will be victorious (the same applies to virtually all real-life situations). Yes, there is a chance you falter at the end, but if you set your goals for the top of the heap, and you put in the work, you still end up as Dan said “damn near the top of the heap, and there’s no shame in that.” I used this mentality through my entire wrestling career and continue to use it in not only my professional career but also my personal life. It’s the mentality I bring to our team, and what I expect of our employees. Don’t shoot for the average, shoot for the what some consider to be unattainable. That’s the base for transforming good to great.
As I mentioned, this is all a work in progress, and being that our philosophy is that everyone has something to improve on, it always will be. However, utilizing these two critical factors is helping us develop our team, as individuals, and as a whole. It’s through making this a priority that the unattainable suddenly becomes the attainable and eventually becomes who you are…. the absolute best at whatever you do. I like to think that focusing on that recipe for building a great team is how we are “Setting a New Standard of Excellence.”