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The best teams I've worked with

How great teams deliver results


We all know this situation. The sports game is over on television. And the reporter asks the team coach: how come your team lost? Or: why did things not go as you planned? We see the coaches struggle to explain.


It feels like there’s something intangible about a great team that delivers results.
And we all know it when we see it.
Or when we are a part of it!


I feel fortunate to have worked with dozens of teams around the world in the last couple of decades. I’ve been working with local teams, national teams, and global executive teams. And still do. Varying from public and private companies to medical specialists in hospitals and large Non-Governmental Organisations.


In my experience, there is not one simple recipe for a great team. But I’d like to share some of my learnings from working with them. And where I see similarities for the ones that really stand out.


  1. The most common issue business leaders have, is that they fail to remove underperformers from the team. I’ve seen this happen so often. I know, it’s a really difficult thing to do. But it’s holding the rest of the team, and the results, back at the end of the day! Because high performing colleagues are inspiring. We all remember that playing in a team as a kid where most of the teammates were better, nudged us to become a better player.
  2. TRUST is a huge factor ultimately leading to high team performance. The role of the leader cannot be exaggerated. If the leader is effective at building and maintaining trust, this will impact team performance in magical ways over time.
  3. What are we working on as a team? You need to be crystal clear what the Wildly Important Goals are. It happens that teams talk about details and miss the big picture. Great teams know exactly what the value creation roadmap is that they are working on.
  4. Team investment. A team is like any other relationship: it needs investment. In time and sometimes in money. The best teams I've worked with understand this. They carve out time to invest in their relationships. And I’m not talking only about organizing team dinners! This is much more about investing in a feedback culture. How do we work together? Investing in trust and skills to do it, so team members have ongoing fruitful conversations.
  5. Truly caring and taking an interest in each other. A leadership team is not a social group of personal friends. They have something to accomplish together. That’s why they are together in the first place. However, the best teams I’ve worked with, look like a group of friends: they truly care and look after each other.



Hopefully this inspires you to look at your team through a different lens.


Paul Donkers

Paul P.J. Donkers is a sought-after global business coach and management consultant. More about his work and projects can be found via and via

Paul and his partners work since decades with leaders to assist them create more value. If you want to have a confidential conversation, just reach out to us via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

By Paul Donkers

"my purpose is to help improve strategy execution, to create high performing teams and coach for effective business leaders"

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