Editor’s note: Triangle entrepreneur and thought leader Jes Averhart, CEO of Jes & Co and host of the “Reinvention Road Trip,” is a regular WRAL TechWire contributor who explores topics pertaining to reinvention, especially prompted by the onset of the global pandemic. Her columns appear weekly. This week she discusses your lane of influence.

Note to readers: WRAL TechWire would like to hear from you about views expressed by our contributors. Please send email to: info@wraltechwire.com.


 RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – A cliché that sums up this article: Teamwork makes the dreamwork.

If you’re on a team, and I suspect you are, it’s time to look under the hood.  Whether you’re a co-founding team with a set of advisors, a large multi-faceted team at a Blue Chip company or a member of a board of directors at a local nonprofit, the way you move on your team has an impact.

Last week, we examined the Fab 4 of high performing teams and what it meant to really know and own your lane of influence. This week, we’ll continue to dig in to those four lanes by introducing the ‘4×4,’ a framework that identifies the four key attributes driving each of the Fab 4. At the end of the day, when these drivers are allowed to shine through…they fuel creativity and innovation taking your team to new and unknown territory.

The 4×4

First, let’s talk about the Creator. Creators offer a unique set of drivers within a team environment. They show up with an inspirational vision, courage, conviction and a special spark. The creator sees these attributes as table stakes. Not only do they have the ability to see what can be achieved but they also have the willingness to lean into the moment and trust that a positive outcome is possible. Their team admires them for bringing a catalytic energy that is contagious and inspirational.

Inside a Fab 4 (creators, builders, sustainers, disruptors) team: What to do when wires get crossed

Next, we have the Builder. Builders take the creator’s vision and use their unique drivers to build momentum. They naturally bring design, orchestration, curiosity and openness to the mix.  They almost magically see and understand all the moving parts and how they fit together in service of the bigger vision. The team knows that without them the dream is just a dream.

Now let’s unpack the Sustainer.  The sustainer is driven by critical reasoning, order, consistency and follow through. They clearly see the builders design and are able to determine the priorities in real time. They also serve as the “glue” for a team by using their natural ability to establish and maintain relationships throughout the process. The team recognizes that the sustainer keeps the ball moving and gets critical tasks over the finish line.

Last…but never least, we have our Disruptor. Disruptors stand out because they bring critical analysis and insight to the table, along with the ability to question and lean in change. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they push the envelope. Disruptors have the innate ability to think about the work-at-hand critically even if it means changing course. And while the team is challenged by the disruptor, they understand that they ultimately sharpen the iron.

My hope is that by outlining the above drivers, you now have a better idea of what YOU distinctly bring to the party. Leaning into your natural gifts will help refresh the playbook and open up new possibilities for your team. Still not sure? Don’t worry. Take our Fab 4 quiz (and invite other team members to do the same).

**For all my leaders out there, here’s a reminder. Spending time on developing a high performing team should be at the top of your “must do” list. It’s important work. So take some time this week to examine and confidently drive in your lane of influence and slow down long enough to fully appreciate what the other members of your team contribute. Have fun with this. The 4×4 is meant to be clear and easy to navigate. So go! Unlock your team’s true potential.