A main focus of Talent Optimization are team dynamics… 

Team dynamics are the unconscious, psychological forces that influence the direction of a team’s behavior and performance. Whether on purpose or accidental, team dynamics  are created by the personalities within the team, their working relationships with other people, and the environment in which the team works. As I look back on my career and review some of the most significant strides I’ve had personally and professionally when it comes to team dynamics, one concept that has stood out has been addition thru subtraction.

The realities of living during a global pandemic and changes happening around the world have caused a lot of subtraction within organizations. People are losing their jobs, and leaders have to make difficult decisions. To make lemonade out of lemons, businesses can use the concept of addition through subtraction to make their workforce more reliable and their business more robust.

So how does 2 – 1 = 3?

  • Shedding the Negative Attitude Creator
  • Not hiring the Culture Mismatch
  • Innovation
  • Rehire existing team members

Shedding the Negative Attitude Creator

I’m a big fan of Simon Sinek, and I like his take on Performance vs. Trust. On his graph, you have performance on one axis and trust on the other axis. His premise is that a person who has medium performance and high trust is more valuable than the person who is a top performer and low on trust. You’ve probably been on a team where the high performer with low trust is the instigator of toxic team dynamics. Subtracting that person from the group and/or company is an ‘addition’ because it positively affects the team/company dynamics and culture.

You can watch Simon Sinek’s talk here.

Culture Mismatch

Another way to add to your company thru subtraction is by not hiring employees that are a cultural mismatch. Hiring a candidate who may not have all the skills you need but fits in with your culture is a better idea than hiring a team member who will have a toxic effect on your culture. Employees can always upskill with training. Culture mismatch is just one of 4 common misalignments that can disengage your staff.


I’ve heard the comment time, and again, due to today’s business landscape restraints, some companies are innovating their way out of this pandemic. They’ve used the smaller workforce they currently have in innovative ways to do the full staff’s job. Use this time to figure out how your business can do more with less, be creative, and think outside the box. Just because things are starting to return to ‘normal’ doesn’t mean that you have to go back to the old ways of doing things. 

Rehire current employees

The final way to add to your company by subtraction is to rehire your employees. You have a unique opportunity to reshape your workforce and find where your current worker would fit better in your company. Maybe you have some people in marketing who would make fantastic salespeople. Take a look at each employee to see if they can fit into the new design.

Attract and retain the best employees for the job.

Attract and retain the best employees for the job.

It’s a familiar story. A company invests in a business assessment like Predictive Index, DISC, Enneagram. The employee sits through a day-long workshop, and then the results go into the bottom desk drawer. Not seen again until that employee is released, and in it, you see all of the reasons that that employee didn’t work out.