Serial entrepreneur Bill Gross claims the two most important factors for successful start-ups are “timing” and “team.”

Similarly, in their book "How Google Works," Google Executive Chair and ex-CEO Eric Schmidt and former SVP of Products Jonathan Rosenberg note that venture capitalists “will always follow the maxim of investing in the team, not the plan.”

It’s no wonder that Marco Mancesti, research and development director at the IMD business school in Lausanne, Switzerland thinks every business — from start-ups to the most established — should adopt a framework to create winning teams.

He calls it the PIKES model.

The Essential Elements

PIKES stands for Purpose, Integration, Knowledge, Ecosystem and Self. 

Purpose: Refers to the personal motivation of each team member to make the project a success. "It has to be there, otherwise the risk of people dropping out when the team faces its first serious crisis is very high," he said.

Integration: The team should have a deep understanding of all the elements that contribute to its cohesion — values, behaviors, and written and unwritten rules, such as reliability for example. "The concept of integration is central when hiring new team members. If the leader and the people interviewing don’t understand it fully, they will not be able to put together a high-performing team," he said.

Learning Opportunities

Knowledge: From mastery of key technical competencies to soft skills like imagination, knowledge is essential. "Beyond the obvious need for innovation, a team that does not have the potential for creativity runs the risk of lacking imagination when it comes to resolving complex problems," he said.

Ecosystem: Relates to each individual’s capacity to understand the dynamics of the broader environment in such a way that the team can navigate and interact efficiently even during stormy weather. "From an outcome perspective, we are looking, for example, for the ability to mobilize resources across the organization and beyond, and to obtain support from key stakeholders," he said.

Self: Addresses each team member’s ability to be in control of his or her own emotions. "Uncontained stress has the potential to derail all the other dimensions," he said.

"Teams are like mirrors. They reflect the ability of top management to translate their vision into reality. So the pressure is on to choose the right people and then nurture them," Mancesti said.

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