C is for Building A Team That Balances Consistency And Creativity

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There are many models for building a superb team. One approach is to get the right balance between consistency and creativity.

Good teams consistently reach 8/10. But they also encourage people to express their talents so that the team reaches 10/10.

Imagine you are a leader and want to build such a team. One concern that you have, however, is that people sometimes neglect the basics on their route to self-expression.

Let’s explore three steps for getting the right combination in your team.


Start by gathering people together. Explain how superb teams get the right balance between consistency and creativity.

Try to give real life examples that show how teams have followed this formula. Invite people to also come up with examples of teams that have got the right balance.

You can then ask them to tackle the exercise on this theme. People are to start by brainstorming ideas on the things that everybody must deliver in a consistent way. They can then agree on the key principles.

This exercise can be used with all kinds of teams. During the 1980s, for example, I used it with teams of talented young footballers.

Believing they were super stars, the individual players often did their own thing. But success called for them combining their talents as a team.

When using this exercise with one team, they agreed on the following principles that everybody should follow.

Keep ourselves fit … Arrive on time for training and all meetings … Be positive … Take responsibility … Always give 100% … Follow the team’s agreed strategy for each game … Stick to our roles during matches … Encourage each other … Accept the referee’s decisions without dissent … Keep going up to the final whistle.

Invite people to brainstorm and then agree on the following things that everybody must deliver in a consistent way.

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Move onto the second part. Invite people to brainstorm and agree on when it important to encourage individuals to use their creativity.

After some discussion, the football team agreed that players should use their imagination when they were:

Attacking in the final third of the field … Dealing with critical situations … Making decisions about things not covered in the game plan.

So invite people to agree on the following areas.

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Consistency and Creativity

Superb teams always do the basics, even after being knocked off-course. They then add the brilliance when it matters.

Bearing this in mind, ask your team to clarify how they can continue to balance consistency and creativity in their daily work.

If appropriate you can also invite them to clarify how they can behave superbly during potential crises.

Get them to test their conclusions by brainstorming potential problems. Exploring each event in turn, ask people:

To clarify how they can keep following the consistent principles during the difficulty.

To clarify how they can use their creativity to solve the crisis successfully.

Superb teams are frequently self-managing. This calls for educating them to get the right balance between consistency and creativity. They will then be able to produce great performances when it matters.

Here are the exercises that you may invite them to tackle.

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