Five People You Need On Your Dream Team

UPDATED: June 21, 2012
PUBLISHED: June 21, 2012

The NBA Finals are some of the highest-rated games yet. The young, fast Thunder, led by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, take on superstars Dwyane Wade & Lebron James from the Miami Heat. While these stars get the media attention, basketball is a team sport and the winning team will get a big contribution from everyone. It takes more than a superstar to win a championship.

We can’t do it alone either. Whether you are building a business or trying to move up to the next role, you need a team of advisors around you to help you get better, grow and reach your goals. Stop and think about where you get your advice today on your work and career. Do you have your own Dream Team? If your team = you, then it’s time for a change.

The Dream Team

You need access to advisors with a mix of expertise and backgrounds. These individuals—all with unique perspectives—will play a key role in helping you reach your goals.

1. The Pro: The Pro has “been there, done that.” They have already done what you hope to do, and with great success. Whether they have built a business or moved up to the role you’d love to have someday, they can tell you what’s likely ahead and how to get there. They’ll keep you focused on how to get where you are going, not just where you’ve been or are today.

My Pro helps me determine very tangible next steps for me and my business. And she isn’t shy about pushing me out of my comfort zone and helping me take steps I wouldn’t have without that nudge.

2. The Encourager: The Encourager is a great listener and helps keep you motivated. They help you focus on the positives, not just what could be better. The Encourager may be a friend or family member with some knowledge of your business, but knows a lot about you. When you are having a bad week, this is who you call for dinner.

My Encourager is business-minded, but helps me stay focused on progress, not just on what I wish was better. After a good talk with this advisor, I always have a refreshed perspective and new outlook.

3. The Innovator: This creative advisor will throw out the unconventional idea that helps you stay fresh and current. They may share a book or info on new technology and will always get your creative juices flowing. The Innovator may not work in your industry, but their perspective makes you think differently.

My Innovator pushes me out of my comfort zone with ideas and information outside of my typical discussions with clients. After I process a bit, I often see new possibilities I hadn’t before.

4. The Challenger: This advisor is great for testing your thinking and assumptions. They often play devil’s advocate with you to be sure you aren’t becoming complacent or replaying old tapes. The best Challengers push you on your thinking, but with an eye toward making you better in a constructive way.

One of my Challengers once asked me why my company was relying almost exclusively on relationship selling rather than pursuing other marketing opportunities. “Oh, so then you must already know everyone you need to know?” I thought about this question a lot and realized that in fact I didn’t. It helped me rethink our marketing approach.

5. The Connector: The Connector introduces you to others who can help you grow your business and career. The best have many contacts and are willing to open some doors for you that you can then carry forward yourself. Connectors are essential if you are trying to start a new business, as relationships and introductions are critical for success.

I have had a few key Connectors who have been instrumental in growing my business. They have been very generous in making introductions or including me in events. When my Connectors ask me for a favor, I always deliver because of how helpful they have been to me.

As you think about your career and your business, it’s important to remember you can’t do it alone. Success comes from your own resourcefulness, but also from wise advisors who help make us better. Who’s on your Dream Team?


Patti Johnson is a career and workplace expert and the CEO of PeopleResults, a change and human resources consulting firm she founded in 2004. Previously, she was a senior executive at Accenture and has been recently featured as an expert in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, NBC, Money Magazine and Working Mother. Patti is also an instructor for SMU Executive Education and a keynote speaker on “Leading Change.” Her first book, Make Waves: Be the One to Start Change at Work & in Life, hit shelves in May 2014. Visit her website at