Have you ever noticed that a group composed of highly intelligent or talented individuals doesn’t always produce the high results you might expect of such a team?

Think about it: Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger individually gave us such immortal cinematic icons as Rocky, Conan the Barbarian, Rambo and John McClane, and some massive films such as Armageddon, The Terminator, The Sixth Sense, Predator, Cliffhanger and True Lies. Yet, collectively they gave us The Expendables. “The what?” we hear you asking. Exactly!

Or consider the England football team. For years we’ve been lauding the so-called “golden generation” of great English football players – and yet, year after year we endure thoroughly average performances at major international tournaments. These highly talented players perform very well at their own clubs where the teams are often built around these star players to complement their talents. Yet when it comes time to select the England squad, the players that are chosen are the best players in each position – not the players that will work the best with each other.

Look around and you will see plenty more examples all around you. In the course of his research in the 1970s and 80s, Dr Meredith Belbin identified this phenomenon describing why teams of highly capable individuals often only achieve mediocrity when working collectively, and named it Apollo Syndrome. We’ll be writing and tweeting about this all week.

It takes all sorts to make an effective team. We can’t all be alphas and, actually, there is immense value in not being an alpha. Where would Don Corleone have been without Hagen, his voice of reason? In any team, there are a number of different key roles that need to be covered for that team to meet their objectives. Everyone brings different strengths to the table. The key is to know how to best deploy these differences, rather than allow them to become barriers to reaching your goals.

We have a Learning Lunch (bite-sized training on key topics that is designed to fit in with your lunch hour, your training budget and commitment to developing, valuing and retaining your staff) called Top of the Pops that explores this issue and comes up with practical solutions for your team. We explain how you can get the best out of your team, the consequences of personal style and the importance of looking at the strengths of the team as a whole rather than each individual. Email Imogen or or Lesley, or phone us on 01753373063 for more information.