Great teams that work in any creative field will have a culture of excellence that shares many of these qualities:

  • Optimistic aspiration to greatness – individuals and teams seek out excellence on their own.
  • Shared vision – people and teams are aligned around the same vision and goals, minimizing conflicts and wasted effort
  • Swift and effective conflict resolution – teams minimize waste and maximize speed
  • Results count, not effort – people are oriented on what matters
  • Best ideas win regardless of source – improvements are accepted without politics
  • Interest in improving team performance over time – people work to create an environment that supports personal and team growth
  • Creative intimacy – cross-functional teams that work closely together, and include engineering, business, and user experience people for example
  • Proactive self-organization – teams decide what to do and do it, and do not wait to be told what to do
  • Great decisions are the norm – and meetings are mainly held to make decisions, not pass along information
  • Mistakes and learning are celebrated and encouraged  – maximizing learning and encouraging growth
  • Healthy relationship to authority – people lead and follow as necessary without cynicism
  • Grit – passion and perseverance for long-term goals; ability to transcend significant obstacles
  • Flow of great work – the team regularly delivers products, services, or other accomplishments that move it closer toward its goals

(Thanks to Michele McCarthy and David Socha for their help writing this list.)