Are You Playing with a Team of All-Stars?

A coaching strategy for cultivating a talented employee team is a source of competitive advantage. Learn how to assess your leadership strength and develop an all-star team.




In today’s rapidly changing financial environment a credit union needs to be a high performance organization to compete successfully. Jim Collins, the best-selling business author of Good to Great, says, “The first step in achieving greatness is that you must have the right people on the bus.”

Getting the right people on the bus doesn’t just happen.

Just as in any sports team, to win you can’t rely solely on one or two players – you must also have bench strength – a depth of talent with skills and behaviors that support the goals of the organization.

If your New Year’s resolution is to improve the quality of your management and staff, at the end of this article is the URL to a free management assessment tool that gauges your organization’s bench strength to help you put your team’s talent into perspective and guide the right people onto the bus…

The results from this assessment demonstrate a dilemma for each leader because they may expose a vulnerable situation. The leader of the team (CEO, executive or manager) is seen as the ultimate person accountable for organizational or departmental results as well as the consistency of the culture.

How to use the Leader’s Bench Strength Survey:

1. Use the Leader’s Bench Strength Assessment to produce insight. You will identify your employees with the clearest positions with clear choices (all-stars and unacceptable employees) as well as your employees with noticeable dilemmas with tough choices.

a. Low Performer: Some people perform at a very low level. They can’t (or won’t) produce results. They may spend time on activities but fail to produce the desired outcomes.

b. High Performer: Other people on your team are high performers. You can count on them to produce the desired outcomes. They get the right things done.

c. Cultural Misfit: Some people create chaos when they work with others. Some want everything their way – some refuse to change with the times. From a values-driven behavior standpoint they personify the worst of your organization’s culture.

d. Cultural Fit: Other people fit well within your culture. They are easy to work with – their behaviors are consistent with your organization’s core values. They personify the best of your organization’s culture.

2. For your credit union/department all-stars, establish a program that keeps them on a path of continual professional development. Also establish a program that keeps the all-stars loyal and motivated to continually help the credit union/department achieve success.

Tips for success: Research has proven that most (75%+) of our business knowledge, our skills and the abilities we have developed are the result of personal experiences. These experiences occur naturally for each of us, and they contribute to the growth of our technical skill and leadership. However, neither business success nor executive growth results from random events. To be effective, a bench strength development process must be integrated into a business strategy by:

  • Aligning talent with strategic direction
  • Focusing on results for specific learning and business objectives
  • Providing a regular, confidential mentoring process
  • Maximizing project opportunities
  • Establishing a climate for learning
  • Continuously reinforcing their contribution through a participative ongoing process
  • Building trust and teamwork

3. For individuals who are unacceptable employees for the credit union or department, develop a process whereby they will be outplaced.

4. For individuals who are your noticeable dilemmas, develop and implement a coaching program leading to improved performance or behaviors. This will result in more all-stars for the credit union/department.

Tips for Success: Coaching is made up of the formal and informal dialogs a leader guides in support of organization, team and individual performance as well as to sustain continuous improvement. Typical coaching behaviors include:

  • Using practical methods of questioning and observation to keep aware of the work place activities and project performance of the organization, teams, and individuals
  • Clarifying performance expectations and providing feedback and direction
  • Helping identify improvement opportunities and providing support for continuous improvement efforts
  • Supporting and recognizing work place accomplishments
  • Removing barriers and constraints which inhibit an individual or team from accomplishing goals and objectives
  • Teaching

If you believe, as we do, that bench strength is a critical source of competitive advantage and that talent can be developed, you will benefit from this Leadership Bench Strength Assessment. Visit to download a copy of the Leadership Bench Strength Assessment.

Please contact us if you would like more information on how you can get, and keep, the right people on the bus. Cardwell, 800-395-1410,



Jan. 10, 2005



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