Avengers™ Assembled: Finding Your Optimal Team
How Earth’s mightiest heroes can help build your group
By F Scott Feil, PT, DPT, EdD
Any time that I am tasked with the mission of crafting an optimal team, my leadership mind immediately goes to Marvel’s Avengers™.
One of my superpowers is connecting people. I often tell my students and clients that I may not always be the person with the answer, but that through years of building an expansive network, I likely know the person who is. But how can you find your optimal team when it comes time for the Avengers™ to assemble?
Luckily, curiosity can be a helpful virtue when planning your team-building strategy. One of the things that makes the Avengers™ so great is that each of them possesses strengths that are different from, but complementary to, those of the others. There is not a lot of overlap when it comes to their talents and skill sets, and that is an important factor when constructing an optimal team. You can’t have five Hawkeyes, or everybody will be a sharpshooting, problem-solving sniper, and things begin to get complicated when everybody is trying to fix the same small problem. Be curious about your potential future team members. If you approach conversations with them with the idea of being more interested than interesting and you spend more time listening to their stories than you do sharing your own, you will be in a position to get to know their potential strengths and weaknesses. By using each of the Avengers™ listed below as an archetype, you can develop a list of traits to look for as you build and grow the team at your own private practice.
Tony Stark is a billionaire and philanthropist by day and makes headlines as Iron Man in his spare time. He is a mechanical genius, inventor, and overly confident superhero. When searching for a good foundational team member to build a supporting cast around, you want somebody smart and confident to be a leader and guide the team. But you also want somebody who can create and invent and who isn’t afraid to tinker until they get things right. Possessing true entrepreneurial spirit, this type of leader can be hard to find, but there is a general aura of fearlessness when talking with them, and no situation really rattles them.
Every leader needs a good right hand; someone they can trust to be a strong supporter, or co-captain if you will (you see what I did there). Steve Rogers is the technical leader of the Avengers™ who doesn’t ask for that credit and fights for strong ideals and morals. This team member should be humble, yet strong. They should be invested not only in you and the team, but in the culture of the company. A team member like this will lead by example and carry on fighting the good fight because they believe in the company’s mission. They want all their teammates to join in the crusade, because if they are displaying the company’s vision and values, then the entire company should follow suit. But the culture must be a strong one from the very beginning for this team member to be a good fit.
The Incredible Hulk
Dr. Bruce Banner is a soft-spoken scientist who also toes the line on being the powerful bull in a China closet as the Incredible Hulk. This team member may be very passionate and filled with great ideas but may rush to plow through them to see them to the finish line. A team member like this is great in breaking down barriers and using brute force and sheer determination to implement new ideas. However, they also may need a counterpart to keep them calm and focused and harness their energy and refine their ideas.
The perfect person to keep the Hulk calm and focused, Natasha Romanoff can be essential to your team. A supremely skilled assassin, she has the ability to make solid connections with people and “Hulks” alike and is the one to refine the “Fire, Ready, Aim” ideas. A conversational savant, Black Widow is able to find common-ground amongst a powerful team and convince all to move towards common goals. The cliché “Every team needs a great team player” comes to mind, and Black Widow uses her amazing technical skill set at her highest level in every situation.
A literal god of thunder, Thor is a difficult team member to find. He is fast, agile, and durable, and he has a very strong immunity. A team member like Thor is going to be your workhorse. Reliability, trustworthiness, and the abilities to learn and adapt are this character’s key traits. Thor starts out as an arrogant hero who feels he needs to prove himself. As his story progresses, though, he becomes very thoughtful — a true team player and pillar of consistency. This teammate will show up day in and day out, put in the hard work, learn from their mistakes, and adapt to continue to improve upon themselves. They may be a seasoned person, or perhaps they are a young, ambitious go-getter who may seem a little overconfident at the start but is willing to learn and adapt through coaching.
A team is fortunate if they have that member who seems to make magic happen, like Wanda Maximoff, another supremely strong Avenger. Because she possesses the powers of chaos magic, she can warp reality and manipulate energy. This team member is so powerful and so good at what they do that they seem to make the impossible happen by motivating others to achieve beyond their wildest imagination. Miracle after miracle after miracle is their usual workday. They consistently drive the team to continue to improve and build on their past successes.
The final team member to seek is Hawkeye. Earlier, we talked about how he is a sharp-shooting problem solver. He also has an eagle eye, pinpoint focus, and a Mr. Fix-it mentality, as well as a strong moral compass. Precision assists with the ability to interpret metrics, yet this person’s strong morals ensure that patient-care remains front and foremost. Plus, having someone who can unclog a bottleneck by narrowing in on tiny aspects of a problem is a major asset to any business.
To build your ideal team, create your own list of traits and characteristics you would like to see in your team, then ask the relevant questions to ascertain the information you need to see which potential team members can check those boxes. Remember, curiosity is the key! You can construct your team from the top down with a solid leader, or from the bottom up with a consistent base to fortify the remainder of the team. However you choose to proceed, keep these superheroes in mind when it is finally time for your Avengers™ to assemble!
F Scott Feil, PT, DPT, EdD, is a full-time professor at the University of St. Augustine and owner of Epic Therapy and Wellness. He can be reached at ThePTEducator@gmail.com and is on all the socials as @PTEducator.