The Continuous Gap Analysis of Opportunity

Published: June 27, 2016

Building a dream team involves both design and maintenance. In the design phase, gather a unique collection of personalities who share a common goal and diverse paths to attainment. In the maintenance phase, catch early warning signs of vulnerability and repair proactively. Whether anchoring the team’s infrastructure or tweaking performance, consider these guideposts and engage in a continuous gap analysis of opportunity:



Norms: Get clarity about the way teammates expect to be treated and how roles intersect.

Values: The “why” your work is important shapes the “what” of your mission.

Conflict: Constructive and mature disagreement strengthens relationships on the team.


Respect: Everyone has a reason for their words and actions, whether clear to you or not.

Accountability: Follow-through builds trust while sanctioned omissions normalize mediocrity.

Connection: Collaboration is fueled by caring. We invest more deeply when it matters.


Diversity: There are many paths to the same destination. Discover them all.

Growth: Struggle is a necessary condition for progression.


Poise: We learn most about a team’s ability when they are under stress.

Adaptability: Effective teammates move quickly from trumpeting pain to problem-solving.

Because the world isn’t perfect, human frailties often interfere with effective teamwork. Healthy teams struggle with the same issues as unhealthy teams. They just apply the understanding that pain, conflict, growth, and change are necessary and valuable. The “dream team” occurs because of the attention to these challenges not in spite of them.

Photo of Steve Ritter, the co-founder of The Center for Team Excellence

Steve Ritter

Steve Ritter is an internationally recognized expert on team dynamics whose clients include Fortune 500 companies, professional sports teams, and many educational organizations. He is on the faculty of the Center for Professional Excellence at Elmhurst University where he earned the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Steve is the former Senior Vice President, Director of Human Resources at Leaders Bank, named the #1 Best Place to Work in Illinois in 2006 and winner of the American Psychological Association's Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award in 2010. Steve provides ongoing workplace culture consultation to many thriving companies including Kraft Foods, Advocate Health Care, Kellogg's, the Chicago White Sox, AthletiCo, and Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.