7 Steps for Building Strong Teams
In most organizations, teamwork provides the foundation for getting things done. A strong team can multiply individual strengths and talents, creating a powerful force for moving a company forward. Of course, the opposite is also true: A poorly led team can waste time without achieving anything positive.
Team-building is both an art and a science. Here are seven tips to ensure success:
- Strive for diversity. Having a wider range of individual backgrounds and experiences often leads to the best overall results, because there can be a more varied perspectives on issues and opportunities.
- Consider the size of the team. A larger team will have more “bandwidth” for tackling substantial issues, but is likely to take longer to accomplish its objectives. A smaller team can move and adapt to change more quickly, an important consideration in urgent situations.
- Choose team members carefully. Look for people who can work well together, and take their individual personalities into account, as well as their skills and backgrounds. Someone with an abrasive personality could fragment the team, making it difficult to reach a consensus viewpoint.
- Set clear roles, responsibilities and deadlines. For example, one team member might be tasked with preparing the financial analysis, while another might look at a sales strategy. In any case, setting deadlines for completion of tasks helps to ensure individual accountability and keep the team moving ahead.
- Include support staff on the team. It’s usually a good idea to have someone on the team in charge of the logistics, such as scheduling meetings, preparing agendas, updating action plans and other administration.
- Be flexible. Don’t be afraid to bring in a new team member if additional knowledge or a fresh viewpoint is needed. It’s much better to incorporate that person’s input than to realize too late that something important was forgotten.
- Learn from the past. Draw on the organization’s institutional history to see which teams have succeeded or failed in recent years, and why.
These lessons and practices provide valuable guidance in building successful teams.