Vantiv ONE Recommended Read: The Ideal Team Player

Blog Post created by jim_roddy on Jul 20, 2017

I first heard about The Ideal Team Player during a podcast interview with author Patrick Lencioni and thought to myself, “Hmmm … maybe I should add that to my reading list.” Then I discovered that two of the most respected VAR/ISV hybrid companies in our industry highly recommend The Ideal Team Player – one owner said it’s required reading for his management team – so I bought a copy right away.


The book includes valuable concepts and simple-to-apply techniques for identifying, hiring, and managing people to become better teammates. It’s divided into two parts – a fable about a small business followed by details about the Ideal Team Player model.


Following are 29 insightful quotes from The Ideal Team Player that apply to ISV organizations:


  1. Some people are better at being team players. They're not born that way, but either through life experiences, work history, or a real commitment to personal development, they come to possess the three underlying virtues that enable them to be ideal team players: they are humble, hungry, and smart.
  2. Defining the three virtues. Humble: Humility is the single greatest and most indispensable attribute of being a team player. Hungry: Hungry people are always looking for more. More things to do. More to learn. More responsibility to take on. Smart: Smart refers to a person’s common sense about people.
  3. When a team member lacks one or more of these three virtues, the process of building a cohesive team is much more difficult than it should be, and in some cases, impossible.
  4. These three qualities are to teamwork what speed, strength, and coordination are to athletics — they make everything else easier.
  5. A real team player is the kind of person who can easily build trust, engage in healthy conflict, make real commitments, hold people accountable, and focus on the team's results.
  6. Hire people who are hungry, people who go beyond what is required, who are passionate about the work they're doing.
  7. If even one of the qualities is missing in a big way, you've got yourself a jackass.
  8. We want to be an odd company, in a good kind of way. People who don't fit should think we're a little strange.
  9. Most training and development comes down to how much a person wants to change.
  10. I refer to these as “virtues” because the word virtue is a synonym for the nouns quality and asset, but it also connotes the idea of integrity and morality.
  11. In some people, hunger can be directed in a selfish way that is not for the good of the team but for the individual.
  12. Healthy hunger is a manageable and sustainable commitment to doing a job well and going above and beyond when it is truly required.
  13. Smart people just have good judgment and intuition around the subtleties of group dynamics and the impact of their words and actions.
  14. Humble, hungry, and smart weren't necessarily core values, but they were critical hiring and developmental criteria for any organization that wanted teamwork to be central to its operations.
  15. Could a person fully practice the five behaviors at the heart of teamwork (trust, conflict, commitment, accountability, and results) if he or she didn't buy into the idea of being humble, hungry, and smart? The answer was a resounding no.
  16. By doing thorough interviewing and selective reference checking, a manager can hire people with a high degree of confidence that they'll be ideal team players.
  17. Hiring best practices: Don't be generic: Too many interviews are so generic that they provide little or no insight into specific attributes.
  18. Debrief each interview as a team: Interviews should debrief quickly after each interview, specifically around observations related to humility, hunger, and people smarts.
  19. Make interviews nontraditional: I like to get out of the office with the candidate and see him deal with people in an unstructured environment.
  20. Ask questions more than once: If you're not sold on the response, ask in a more specific way, and you will often get a more honest answer.
  21. Ask candidates to do some real work: Give a simulated work project. See how people perform in real-world situations so you can discern whether they are humble, hungry, and smart.
  22. Don't ignore hunches: If you have a doubt, don't ignore it. Keep probing. Assuming that a person has the virtues of a team player is a bad idea.
  23. Scare people with sincerity: One of my favorite ways to ensure that I'm hiring people who are humble, hungry, and smart is to come right out and tell them that these are requirements for the job.
  24. Knowing whether a person has people smarts is difficult to discern by asking a specific question. What is more important is observing her general behavior during an interview process and the way she answers questions.
  25. Perhaps the most important question that interviewers can ask to ascertain whether a candidate is smart is one that they should ask themselves: Would I want to work with this person every day?
  26. While this tool is quantitative, the real value will be found in the qualitative, developmental conversations among team-members and their managers.
  27. The most important part of the development process, and the part that is so often missing, is the leader’s commitment to constantly reminding an employee if she is not yet doing what is needed.
  28. Ideal, in the context of this book, does not mean perfect.
  29. Great cultures tend to be appropriately intolerant of certain behaviors, and great teams should be quick and tactful in addressing any lack of humility, hunger, and people smarts.


In addition to the wisdom in the book, Lencioni provides free assessment tools and other supporting information through his company’s website: www.tablegroup.com/idealteamplayer.


If you’d like to talk more about The Ideal Team Player and how to improve your ISV business, please reach out to me. My job as a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Vantiv’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services is to work with Vantiv partners to help them with hiring right, developing staff professional development programs, improving customer service, and more. Just drop me a line at Jim.Roddy@vantiv.com and we can set up a time to talk.



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Jim Roddy is a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Vantiv’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services. He has been active in the POS channel since 1998, including 11 years as the President of Business Solutions Magazine, six years as a Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) board member, and one term as RSPA Chairman of the Board. Jim is regularly requested to speak at industry conferences and he is author of the book Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer.