Put the best people you can find on a team and give them specific orders and great things would come out of it. Such a statement seems perfectly obvious. But having seen a lot of projects and organizations, i suspect it it is like George Soros Says a ‘Fertile Fallacy‘.
I read the Talent Myth long time ago, and figured that my current organization was an exception. Over a period of time despite the Gung ho’ ness in the company, we seemed to be delivering much lesser than the potential.
The examples of failed super teams just pop out
- Enron, the Flag bearer of Talent Myth
- The J.F.K team with Robert McNamara, that mired the US in Vietnam
- The NBA all star basketball team that lost to Argentina in 2004 Olympics Semifinals
- The Segway, launched with so much hype, never became what it was touted to be.
By the time I read ‘Wisdom of Crowds‘ it was clear, that teams’ success does not correlate well to the brilliance of the individuals on the team. To me this was a fundamental change in the way that i thought about teams, and i highly recommend reading the book
There are so many heroes in the organization, that the XP ‘no heros’ dictum just made perfect sense for us to follow. We are not the only ones, like Malcolm Gladwell notes the best of Airline Company Southwest actively discourages Heroes.
What makes a good team is the diversity of people thoughts and a passion to get things done. I’ve seen this too many times to believe otherwise