Creating a Team Culture: Know Your Starting 5

Lewis Keens
The Startup
Published in
14 min readMay 10, 2020

Five key considerations for developing a positive and dynamic team culture, inspired by the Netflix series ‘The Last Dance’.

The Netflix documentary “The Last Dance’ is the thrilling story of the Chicago Bulls.

During the 1990’s Basketball’s ‘Greatest Of All Time’ (GOAT) Michael Jordan and legendary coach Phil Jackson led the team to six NBA titles breaking all records along the way.

In Jordan, they had the best player in the world, a competitor that knew he was the star of the team, unafraid of telling the world how unique he was:

“There is only one Michael Jordan.”

— Michael Jordan

But Jackson inherited a weak, dysfunctional Bulls team. Without a purpose and trust within the group, they lacked the culture needed for success. How was that culture changed to create one of the greatest teams of all time?

Can teams flourish without individual talent, and how can a positive culture be developed, maintained and adapted?

Here we present our ‘Starting 5’. Five key considerations to help create a positive and dynamic culture in your team.
  1. Purpose

The Bulls’ General Manager, Jerry Krause was a diligent recruiter, and despite being largely disliked he drafted Michael Jordan and hired Phil Jackson, both made history and led the team to success.

To build a team, you need people, not skill sets. A skill set looks good on paper but doesn’t work without a values-driven structure, much like a muscular system with the skeleton, a skill set is only one aspect of a fully functional and effective team player.

To recruit people, you need to dig a little deeper and reflect upon their values in their interactions:

  • Does this person’s values fit into our vision?
  • How does this person fit the dynamic of our team?
  • Will this person show the humility required to be brave and risk making mistakes and be willing to learn from others?

Lewis Keens
The Startup

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