All-star team

All-Star team

An intrapreneurial All-Star team, that can respond and execute plans in unison and on target, will let your company recognize and outpace its competitors.

“The difference between a [good] team and an [all-star] team is the difference between a million in revenue and a billion in revenue.” – Paul English, Kayak

A startling example of this cascading affect by a small but effective team is demonstrated by a pack of wolves that managed to reshape the physical river in Yellowstone National Park in the United States. Watch How Wolves Change Rivers video below.

How do you build your own All-Star wolf pack that will help you to bring a disruptive innovation and to reshape your industry? Here are the four points to consider.

1. Rock Star vs All-Star Team

Every founder and hiring manager wants to build an All-Star team. But with the day-to-day reality of the growth march, to build one more feature to test the product-market-fit, and with an infrequent supply of All-Star applicants, instead of an All-Star team, it becomes a Rock Star team where one Rock Star hire leads a team of good-enough hires.

A team lead by a Rock Star hire will excel initially but will soon produce negative effects of knowledge silos, unchallenged decisions, lack of diverse innovation, and lack of team growth. It is of the utmost importance that you focus on building the best team rather than to just hire the best people.

2. Culture Fit vs Core Value Fit

You may hear other companies define culture fit as “someone you can grab a beer with at a bar”. This may create a fun fit culture, but will end up building a homogenous team that will be counter-productive, hamper growth, and limit disruptive and diverse innovation.

Companies should measure culture fit with their core values. Core values define the company’s principles to help them dictate their unique culture. At OpenDNS, we have five core values:

  • It’s your ship: Take initiative and take responsibility for your actions.
  • Evangelize greatness: Success comes from a commitment to always improving.
  • Be the strongest link: Support your team’s success by always exceeding expectations.
  • Always be advancing: It’s never enough for our company to hold a position, success comes from always advancing.
  • Raise your hand: Solicit help early and involve others when needed.

Core value fit triumphs beer-buddy culture fit.

3. Putting Out the Fire vs Building For the Future

An All-Star team not only builds for today but add flexibility to change in near future and thus positions the company to be ready to take advantage of the external opportunities that come along. When a team is not an All-Star team, many architectural decisions will be implemented just to solve a “putting out the fire” requirement. To become competitive, your team not only needs to put out fires, but also build a flexibility and adaptability for any market opportunities that may come along.

A smart, intrapreneurial All-Star team will let your company recognize and outpace the competition. Prioritize finding a team that can respond and execute in unison and on target.

4. Mediocrity Enabled vs Removal of 6’s

One of the dangerous hires is what’s known as the “6’s”. If you rank your hire from 1 to 10 where 1-5 represents low performers and 9-10 represents high performers, then “6’s” represent mediocracy.

“But, “6′s” fly under the radar and do just enough work to get by day-to-day. Even worse, they really irritate the high performers (9-10). Since they don’t want to get exposed, they attract other “6′s” to the company. And before you know it, your team slips from being great to being mediocre. It’s extremely important to remove these people from your team as they can be successful somewhere else.” — Michael Karnjanaprakorn, CEO/Co-founder of Skillshare

This 1-10 performance rating applies for each experience class. You can hire a junior or an intern that are high performers in their experience level, and can still build an All-Star team. Get rid of mediocrity and make sure to flush the “6’s” in your hiring process.  At OpenDNS, recruiting and engineering team collaborate closely and we constantly refine our interview process that helps us to find high performers and filter out mediocracy.

Always focus on building your All-Star Team with above points and soon your company will reshape your industry and leave your competitors behind.


Are you a high performer and want to be part of our All-Star team? Find out what positions are available at OpenDNS career page!

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