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Everyone is a role player!

Seven Questions to Consider for each person on your team.

Once there were superstars who ruled the world.

Charismatic, talented, do-it-all athletes.


They earned the big bucks, were featured on magazine covers, signed global endorsements…even had their own shoe deal.

Then there were the lowly role players. often ignored, off-camera, paid little, making up the numbers.

But were they? Or did we just have the wrong lens?

Our concept of the Miracle of Teams argues that as individuals, we will always be limited by our biggest weaknesses, but on a team, we can perform to our greatest strength.

This, of course, only works if a few key fundamentals are in place. These include:

  1. Humility – Acknowledging one’s strengths and one’s weaknesses through Trust and Vulnerability
  2. Honesty – Having clarity of one’s Role through Communication and Candour
  3. Hard Work – Maximising one’s strengths through Commitment and Accountability.

All through history, in sports and in business, every great team had role players. Even Jordan was a role player, just as much as Pippen and Rodman and Longley.

Throughout his 1,072 regular season games, Jordan amassed 32,292 points, averaging 30 points a game with a shooting percentage of 49.7%.

In other words, Jordan missed more shots than he made throughout his entire career. Even though he only just!!!

Someone needed to grab offensive rebounds more often than watch them sail through the net every time he took a shot.

And someone else needed to pass him the ball.

And others needed to set screens to get him open.

When we separate the facts from the hype, it’s abundantly clear that even superstars are role players.

What’s more confronting is that winning relies far more on clearly defined roles, a commitment to exploiting one’s talent to fill those specific roles and accountability when one fails to do so.

In our work to date, we have found more people are unaware of their strengths (and their weaknesses), have little role clarity, even less understanding of their responsibilities and almost no idea of how their contribution achieves performance, the team’s goals or the organisation’s mission.

When we deploy our Roles, Responsibilities, Results & Remuneration Framework with new or existing employees in most organisations, remuneration is the only area of clarity.

Even then, most employees don’t understand the correlation between their remuneration and the organisation’s fiscal fundamentals.

As we enter a time of reviewing the year that passes by and planning for the new one ahead, it may be worth reviewing each member of your team with the following checklist:

  1. How does each person perform?
  2. What are their strengths (and weaknesses) and modes of communication?
  3. Is the team well-balanced to maximise each person’s strengths and complement other’s weaknesses?
  4. Are strengths maximised with each person’s Role and Responsibilities (Commitments)?
  5. Are their Results clear and measurable (Accountabilities)?
  6. Have we got the remuneration mix right (including Recognition, Learning and Reward)?
  7. Is there clarity on how each person’s role contributes to the team’s mission, performance and operational fundamentals?

When individuals play to their strengths, understand their role, know the importance of their contribution to the team’s success, are constantly recognised and given feedback and are challenged to improve daily, they tend to stay longer, are happier, and the team succeeds.

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