I have worked for 10 people startups, to mid-size hyper growth companies, to a Fortune 500 company. In each of those opportunities, I was surrounded by smart people. Yet some teams were highly successful while the others struggled with their goals. Reflecting back on those times, I was analyzing why some of the teams were more successful than the others. The more I thought about it, the more it became clear that my perception of their smartness rallied around the following traits.

Question the Status Quo

Highly successful teams believe in questioning the status quo. Curiosity is their second nature. They aren't afraid to speak their mind while also open to listening to new ideas. They demand the best from leadership and they are ready to give their 100% in return.

Solve the Real Problems

They believe in delivering business value more than following ideal practices. They take pride in what they are building because it solves a real problem and they want to build that solution fast. They move with urgency. They aren't afraid to tinker with the new shiny tools, but they also know that the tradeoffs are important. Reinventing the wheel isn't their goal, but sticking with a squeaky wheel isn't their cup of tea either.

Hype Each Other Up

Members of successful teams respect their team members and they love to hype each other up. They know that encouragement leads to a higher trust. They celebrate diversity in their teams and have one another's back.

Welcome Healthy Competition

Each team member strives to lead the way and are also humbled to play student to their peers. They compete among themselves towards a common goal of being their best selves. It's not a race of jealousy, but the spirit of sportsmanship that drives them.

Disagree and Commit

Disagree and Commit is natural for successful teams, where members will wholeheartedly commit to a solution that they don't agree with. They understand that respectful debates are part of the solution process and don't shy away from them. There can be a right hill to die on, but then there are times when you watch members surrender to Disagree and Commit. They prioritize progress over endless debates.

Do these traits exist in your team? Which one is the hardest for you to cultivate?