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March 2009


Understanding  Teams

What is a team?  The answer lies in one sentence, separated into four parts.

A Team Is:

1. A Highly Communicative Group

We surveyed over 1000 professionals from every type of business, government agency, educational institution, and non-profit organization.  We asked them one question: If you had just enough time, money, and resources to improve your employees skills in only one area of communication, which one would it be: reading, writing, speaking, or listening? 

Their responses were no surprise:

  • Reading and Writing combined - 5%
  • Speaking -  40%
  • Listening - 55%

To improve your speaking and listening skills, get there in person.  Memos, e-mail, and voice-mail will never be as effective as live human contact.  If any confusion exists, if the issue is critical, if emotion is high, or conflict is present then the only way to communicate effectively is face-to-face.  Then listen twice as much as you talk (you have two ears and one mouth for a reason).

2. With Different Skills And Abilities

In a word - Diversity.  Demographic diversity and more.  Different job histories, professional experiences, lengths of employment, educations, specializations, thinking styles, approaches to problem solving.  Teams require complementary skills - so that each member adds value and completes the team.

3. With A Common Purpose

Mission, Vision, Strategic Plan, Objective, Quality Statement.  Whatever you call it - have the Team participate in authoring it.   One sentence or one page in length.  Write it down, make copies, and wallpaper the facility with it.  Put it on your business cards, envelopes, invoices, boxes, mouse pads, key chains, pens. 

Make certain that everyone who comes in contact with your team knows the purpose, and how they contribute to it and benefit from it.

4. Who Are Working Together To Achieve Clearly Identified Goals

In order to be certain the goal has the greatest chance of succeeding, compare it against the following criteria:  Is the goal SMART? 

Specific - an exact number or quantity
Measurable - a way to know you've reached it
Ambitious - pushing you to new levels
Realistic - you must believe its possible
Time-dated: you must have deadlines



For information concerning
SMBC Incorporated contact:

Lou Carloni
Web Page Updated by:
Shannon Bernadzikowski

© SMBC Incorporated  2007