You can hire a great employee, but you can’t hire -- nor build -- a winning team. Reject the analogy of finding puzzle pieces to complete the puzzle of a winning team. The best anyone can do is to buy an amorphous piece and hope it will take any shape that may be usable in the team puzzle.
Finding a good employee can be done on the basis of education, experience and track record. A winning team member is self-generated, based on belief in the message, the personal influence, his or her social graces, the individual's place in the macro economic environment, the current state of the business, circles of personal influence, etc.
A good employee demonstrates a certain verbal tone and inference, an understanding of the core culture, has a capacity to accept personal defeat with grace, expresses a love for the “product of the product”, is emotionally invested, exerts a determination for collective achievement and holds in disdain those that do not show merit to collective thinking.
Such an employee has courage: he or she may have targeted vulnerabilities, but with familial support for time constraints, experience in pushing the limits of personal production, an ability to turn criticism into nuggets of strategic insight, and the desire to understand the frustration of those who don’t like your decisions, such vulnerabilities become towering strengths.
Many of these critical items are not detectable during a hiring process, nor is the hiring process designed to allow one to consider all of these variables effectively as related to your existing team before employment engagement begins. Furthermore, many of these characteristics are created from “moment aero,” when the employee first steps foot into your business, and the psychological contract begins its transformation.
If you have a winning team, cherish it. You don’t control the factors that made it happen, and you may never experience it again.