Teams work or they fail to work. And often, the people on them can’t give specific reasons for either outcome.

Executive Summary

What does it take to create and maintain a Loyalist Team—the kind that makes a lasting impact and sets the bar for what greatness looks and feels like? It takes trust, open communication and a willingness to put the team's agenda ahead of your own, says HR expert Abby Curnow-Chavez, listing these among eight steps that can help companies build high-performing teams.

When teams fail, they often dissolve into cliques riddled with blame or confusion. You see it everywhere: The offensive line blames the quarterback for a late throw; the quarterback points to the wide receiver who bobbled the ball; and the receiver looks back to the linemen who let the opponent run free and interfere with the pass. Everyone sees fault and assigns blame from their own vantage point.

In the world of business, nearly all work is done in teams. Ask anyone and they’ll tell you most of the teams they’ve been on are average or mediocre, or good but not great. However, some have experienced an extraordinary team—a Loyalist Team—the kind that makes a lasting impact and sets the bar for what greatness looks and feels like. And sadly, many can tell you in detail about the toxic teams they were on where gossip, sabotage and finger-pointing was the norm; they also made a lasting impact—a very negative one.

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