We found that talent that isn’t also accompanied by other qualities such as humility, accountability and integrity, really didn’t work for us. —Dan O’Dowd, Colorado Rockies GM
The Rockies aren’t alone. Many college coaches tell me the same story—they don’t recruit only talent anymore. They can’t afford to because although talent is one ingredient of successful teams, it’s not the most important.
If it was the solitary key to victory, then the most talented teams would always win. But they don’t because a myriad of other ingredients (like the ones Mr. O’Dowd mentioned) matter too. Some call these “intangibles.”
Talented athletes who lack intangibles cause team drama. And team drama erodes trust. In working with teams, here’s what I’ve learned:
- It takes only one player to destroy team chemistry and trust.
- Winning may make team drama tolerable for awhile, but the drama eventually makes team members miserable, despite the wins.
- Players with no intangibles take up inordinate amounts of your emotional energy—energy you could be investing in activities that move your team forward.
So no matter what kind of team you lead, recruiting individuals with intangibles gives you a better chance to succeed than attracting those with the most talent.