by Alex Bruton

Referring to this?

1. Introduction

Have you ever had to do group work? Ever hate it? I have.

I always despised group work at school if I couldn’t choose the team myself and even then it was still a bit like rolling the dice unless I knew the other people and we had complementary skills and common interests.

I teach students and work with clients forming entrepreneurial teams and I recommend this super simple tool to help you get it right (or make it darn good anyway). It might be given to you as part of an organized activity in a class you’re taking, or you might choose to use it when forming your own team in a new startup company or for a new project in corporate setting. Either way, it can make a pretty big difference to the success of your team despite being pretty basic. And it can help improve the personal creativity of your team members.

2. The form

Here’s the form itself:

To access for free...

The “picking a darn good team” form (two-sided PDF)

3. Directions

Although it’s pretty easy to use and there are several ways one can go about it, here’s a basic approach. The same directions are provided on the back of the form itself:

  1. Give it some thought and fill in the front side of this form. (Don’t over-think it though.)
  2. Do not fill in your name! (It’s better if people don’t know whose card they’re looking at.)
  3. Only fill in things you’re comfortable sharing and make sure what you do share represents you the way you want to be seen.
  4. Gather all of the forms (yours and your colleagues’) and shuffle them.
  5. Circulate the forms among your colleagues so everyone gets to see all of them – you may be given additional directions for this step.
  6. As you read each, if you see someone you think you might like to work with then write your name on the back of their form in the space provided.
  7. When you’ve had a chance to see everyone else’s form, retrieve your own.
  8. Go find – and talk to – the people whose names are on the back of your form.
  9. Form a darn good team!

Of course, this process filters out the people you might not want to work with (or can’t work with due to scheduling constraints) and helps identify people with complementary skills and resources.

Educators can find more guidance for using this form under the Educator Acess tab (above).


The idea for this tool was helped along by three other resources, in chronological order:

  • An activity called Founder’s Day presented at USASBE 2012 by John Pearlstein from the Richard Stockton College of NJ
  • A team formation concept that Toni Guffei came up with while we were teaching together in the 2011/2012 semester;
  • My own experience developing and delivering the Who the Heck Are You? topic

I am grateful for all of these experiences.

Educator access

The teaching notes for this topic contain an 8.5×11 PDF that has two forms per sheet (for printing purposes):

To access for free...

The “picking a darn good team” form (two per sheet, two-sided PDF)

They also contains a modified version of the form that doesn’t include the outside of class time schedule – for situations where students aren’t expected to work on things outside of class time.

It’s completely free to use all of the digital material at for non-commercial purposes (learn more here on why this is, and be sure to review our Privacy and terms of use page.)

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