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Entrepreneurs: This Is the Dream Team You Need

Entrepreneurs: This Is the Dream Team You Need

by Sangeeta Bharadwaj Badal

Story Highlights

  • Successful ventures require more than a one-man show
  • Teams that have diverse talent sets perform the best
  • Ventures need three alpha leadership roles: Rainmaker, Conductor, Expert

Did you miss the first four articles in this builders' series? Learn more about how to be like Elon Musk, how to become self-aware, how to recognize opportunities and how to take action.

It's a romantic notion.

The solo entrepreneur.

Up late at night, securing business deals. Catching up on work at the trendy coffee shop today. Wrapping up a project, meeting with a prospective client and signing a new contract, all before lunch.

World conquerors, battling the business world alone, against the odds.

It's a story that some people envision for themselves -- especially the most motivated among us.

But studies show that successful builders rarely do it alone.

Ventures started and managed by teams are more sustainable and successful than those with solo founders, according to Gallup's research on successful builders.

Even before a product or service launches, the builder's network of family, friends, colleagues, investors, suppliers and mentors provides resources and perspectives. Every thriving builder started with at least this informal team.

But eventually, a builder needs a formal leadership team too.

Successful Enterprises Require Three Types of People

Gallup discovered a combination of talents -- specifically, three types of "alpha" builders -- greatly linked to the likelihood that a venture will boom.

The Rainmaker: Aggressive, optimistic, risk-tolerant and intensively driven to generate sales and revenue, alpha Rainmakers believe absolutely in their capacity to be successful. They rarely miss a moneymaking opportunity, and they measure success by profitability.

Incredibly persuasive, Rainmakers energize and influence customers and employees with their vision of the future.

They excel at sales and marketing -- no surprise -- but they're equally good at forming authentic relationships with customers and employees to further their business objectives.

The Conductor: Great management talent, a love of hard work and a focus on operations mark the alpha Conductor. They rarely act alone; in fact, they look for ways to delegate work and authority because Conductors take pride in finding the right people for key positions.

Conductors use delegation and relationships as tools to build capacity in the organization, and they hold themselves and their team accountable for high-growth metrics.

Though Conductors can be demanding and challenging, they're rarely stubborn or thoughtless.

The Expert: Primarily focused on product development and research, alpha Experts set a high bar and believe that being the best is the organization's crucial distinction. Highly independent, discerning and quick-thinking, Experts never accept the status quo and constantly imagine new possibilities.

Experts spend their time carefully, and they're so persistent and determined that quitting is not an option. They search for ways to differentiate their product or organization in the market, but running the business doesn't really interest them.

Each talent profile has its own strengths and weaknesses, but successful ventures need all three profiles and all 10 talents.


The Team-Building Mistake People Usually Make

Unfortunately, builders often select co-founders and early partners who are similar to them.

Their team becomes homogeneous, which creates emotional comfort and reduces the likelihood of conflict, but it also limits a builder's access to resources and new information, both of which are critical for growth.

Research indicates that successful builders deliberately cross social boundaries to build diverse networks; cocreate with their customers; and build alliances with their investors, suppliers and other strategic partners. It's a smart way to gain valuable market insight, reduce uncertainty, acquire resources and bring ideas to market.

New ventures benefit from diversity in thinking, experience and outlook -- but the greatest advantages of diversity result from diversity of talent.

Incorporating a talent-based perspective into an organization from the start helps people comprehend others' motives and behaviors, ensure role fit and clarity, and highlight blind spots in the team's talent.

As you add more roles and talents to your team, remember to articulate your venture's purpose and values to create your ideal culture.

Staying mindful of that vision will help you establish priorities and make faster, more effective decisions with your other alpha leaders by your side.

Start building your dream team and your business today:

Jennifer Robison contributed to this article.

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