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February 2010

 

Creating A Winning Team

In today's world of downsizing, doing-more-with-less, working-smarter-not-harder, teamwork is more important than ever.  No single individual can do as much as several key individuals working together as a team.  In fact one definition of a winning team is "the whole is greater than the sum of the parts."  Synergy is essential - but elusive. 

Want to develop a winning team?  Try the following strategies.

Key Strategies

1. Forget About The Past

Many companies avoid teambuilding because issues in the past have left them with a bad taste in their mouth.  This bad taste comes from one-too-many "programs-of-the-month."  Any significant change in your organization has to be a fundamental shift in the way you think, act, and do business.  It cannot be another "program-of-the-month."

You have to start thinking in terms of your real customers - and what they really want.  If you are a manager or owner then your real customers are your employees.  You must think of their needs first, and let them think of the needs of the external customers.

And that brings us to step 2.

2. Become A Leader

Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus tell us that you only need two characteristics to be a leader:

  1. You must use your strengths (whatever they are) to bring out the best in others;
  2. You must focus only on strengths (stop focusing on weaknesses).

Your people need you to be their leader.  Think about what your strengths are - and how to use them to bring out the best in others.  Ask your people what they think your strengths are - you'll get remarkably different answers than the ones you thought of.  Then get about using your strengths to bring out the best in your team - and let them bring out the best in your customers.

3. Instill And Expect The 4 C’s

  • Commitment: you must live the mission, and expect the team to follow your example.
  • Cooperation: the whole must become greater than the sum of the parts.
  • Communication: provide all necessary information, and let the team know that it is okay to ask for information and to share their data.
  • Contribution: participation is not optional; you must require and support it.

4. Motivate The Team

People do exactly what you reward them for doing.  They don't respond to promises, requests, cries, screams, threats, or kindness.  They respond to action.  Reward the members and the team for the results you really want, and only for the results you really want.

5. Provide Meaning And Pride

Each member, and the team as a whole, needs to feel that they are making a difference in the lives of others.  The efforts they make are not just about business success - they are about pride, about having their work mean something to someone.  You must discover what that meaning is and magnify it.  Let them clearly see the meaning, let them feel the pride.

6. Show Them The Result

Teams need to feel a sense of accomplishment; they need to see the end result of a project.  Assign whole projects, not pieces.  Assign results, not specific tasks.  Let them carry the project from start to finish - and magnify the finished product.  Let them feel the accomplishment of having completed something significant.

7. Challenge Them

Everyone has limits.  But how will your team ever know what their real limits are if you never give them a project that is greater than they thought they could accomplish?  They need to learn and grow, to develop and improve.  They need you to challenge them, and to believe in them.  Once you issue the challenge, you must confidently assure them that you have faith in them.  Then let them get to work.

8. Provide Respect And Recognition

When they rise to the challenge and accomplish something truly outstanding you must show your appreciation for their efforts, and reward the team accordingly.  Let them see the respect you have for their significant accomplishments and make certain others see it as well. 

The sweetest sound in the world is one's own name being spoken in a complimentary fashion by someone else.  Let them hear their names and the name of the team from your lips to every ear in the organization.

9. Empower The Team

Give full control - responsibility, authority, and accountability - to the team.  This means full delegation - don't look over their shoulder, don't question their expenses, don't ask them to explain every decision and every action.  When you give them the project to complete you also outline their boundaries - budget, timetable, scope of responsibility, authority.  Then let them carry the ball.  Meet with them at the agreed upon times, and keep your door open in case they need to call on you.  Other than that, get out of the way and let them impress you.

10. Train Without Limits

You must provide training for the team members and the leaders.  Training on any topic that the team wants (regardless of whether it is job related).  Keep everyone engaged in learning.  Any voluntary expansion of their abilities is a good thing for your organization. Videotapes, audiotapes, seminars, chamber of commerce functions, association meetings, books, professional trainers.  It is a necessary ingredient for team success.

 



 

For information concerning
SMBC Incorporated contact:

Lou Carloni
lou@smbcinc.com
Web Page Updated by:
Shannon Bernadzikowski
shannon@smbcinc.com

© SMBC Incorporated  2007