Teamwork is the fundamental unit of operation in the workplace. A team is a group of individuals coming together to achieve a common goal.
Teamwork begins with leadership and purpose, but it must go on to include all the others. There’s a common misconception that teamwork is a team effort.
You do have to do the work, but it’s not a team effort if you only work toward your leadership. People can accomplish more when working in a team and following a leader’s purpose.
That’s why they’re called teams, not teams.
To create a team, start by defining it and then start working on it.
Most times, a team is assembled in the following manner:
- A customer (client) requests a service.
- A project leader will work with an employee to solve that project.
- A project manager will organize and oversee the project.
But that’s not all there is to team formation. There are a few more steps to define and fine-tune your team:
To start, define what it is you’re trying to accomplish. Who are you trying to help, and why?
Once you have a good understanding of the goal, identify the team member that can achieve that goal most effectively. Please identify the person that is closest to the customer and get to know them as a person.
Help them understand the problem and the solution, so they know what to do and why. Identify and establish goals and obstacles along the way.
Once the goal has been identified, it becomes clear who to work with and how to make that happen.
The team works together to create something larger than themselves. They work for the team’s good because they recognize the goals of the team and their goals.
They work to help their team achieve that goal, and they work to do the best they can to achieve their own goals.
Having a team is a strategic way to increase your effectiveness as a business owner.
Identify the team members
Many times, your company has been providing a service for many years.
You’ve got a group of people, perhaps a few hundred or even a few thousand, that can provide this service to their customers. But those hundreds or even thousands are isolated from each other.
They don’t talk to each other. They don’t share a common purpose.
Without the benefit of formal training, they are often following directions blindly. And because they don’t have a team and a leader that they understand, they often work for reasons that don’t make any sense.
Creating a team is the beginning of what makes it all work.
The easiest way to start a team is with the team leader.
The company owner is often the first to define the team and create a mission statement, goals, and obstacles. But in many cases, that isn’t enough.
First, the company needs to recognize and reward the team leader. If you don’t, you will soon find a million new leader candidates who are the natural followers.
You can use a simple rewards system or do what Tim Ferris did and have a motivational letter, medal, or trophy.
And to reward the team, you have to promote their goals and help them overcome obstacles.
Get them to understand the company’s goals and then, when necessary, coach them on how to overcome the obstacles.
And finally, you need to identify the team member that is the most valuable to the team, which adds the most value to their team and the business.
Who is that person?
For some people, no one but themselves can serve as the team leader. That’s fine, but if you’ve got a good team, if you have a positive environment where the team works well together, some people can support a team leader.
So, who do you need on your team?
It’s impossible to say because everyone brings their own special gifts, talents, strengths, and weaknesses. But you’ll need to define the following criteria:
- Is the team member a top-level manager?
- Does the team member have prior experience working as part of a team?
- Can the team member understand the bigger picture and know the strategy that is driving the process?
- Can the team member understand and keep the team focused on the goal?
- Is the team member a self-starter?
- Are they good communicators?
- How will the team be able to share in their goals?
- Are they willing to listen to, trust, and follow the team leader?
Find the team members
Don’t just take your best salesperson or your best operator and find them a team to work with. You’re going to make it tough on the person to join.
They may not understand the company vision. They may not have had the opportunity to learn the product well. And they may have extreme opinions about how they think the company should be run.
Your key to recruiting someone is to create a job description and a mission statement that defines the job and what the team member is expected to do.
You’ve also got to identify who the team member needs to be successful. Maybe you need a manager to drive sales or a technician to install systems.
Or maybe you have two team members with a business relationship, but the team leader would like to have them work together as part of a larger team.
Identify the team members
Once you’ve identified the team members, you’ve got to find out if they have the skills to contribute to the team. Look for people that have the ability to perform.
Look for people who are willing to listen and learn. Look for people that want to be part of a team.
When you have a team, you’ve got to get them to work together because they won’t do it on their own most times. They will try to find ways to serve both themselves and their teammates.
On this point, let me give you some bad news: The right way to work together is not always the best way to work together. The right way to work together is sometimes a little more complicated.
I learned a lot as I was going through this process. And it started from what I saw as a team leader, and it morphed into what we’re doing today.
That process led me to some hard decisions, but it also led me to some breakthroughs. And it led me to do some things that surprised me, surprised everyone, and surprised the team.
Some things I did were to look at how my team worked together, what their strengths and weaknesses were, and then to go a step further and say, “Why?” Why does it matter to me that these people work together as a team?
Attitude, adaptability, reliability, resilience, and commitment are a few traits that a leader must use to evaluate the adaptability of the team members. These traits will help them build successful teams, which is what successful teams have in common.
- Which leader can you compare to?
- Which leader was able to build successful teams?
- Which leader was able to hire the right team members?
- Which leader can you respect?
- Which leader have you heard talk about, admired, and praised?
- What leadership traits make you fall in love with and hate?