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5 keys to successful team building
What would happen if
you tried to build a
house without a plan
or blueprint? The re-
sults, at worst, would
be disastrous and, at
Could that possibly explain why managers
are often unsuccessful in building a team? They
have employees, they have tools and techniques
but they often don't have a blueprint.
The blueprint provides the overall view of
what success looks like, as well as the compo-
nents and the steps needed to get there.
Here are some key elements of a blueprint to
building an effective team, as shared by Mark
Sanborn, a Crestcom faculty member, in this
Visionanswers the questions: where are we
going? What's your ultimate desired destina-
Vision typically refers to your company vi-
sion, and everyone that you hire to become
part of your team needs to know, understand,
and be committed to working toward achieving
On a smaller, or shorter-term, vision can
also refer to the vision of a particular project
or initiative. Knowing what the vision for the
end result of a project or initiative is will help
you decide who would be the best people to
put on the team; whether they are current
employees or new hires.
There are two important aspects of a vision
that you need to consider---and communicate
to your team.
First, your team will need to be able to tell
whether they are making progress or regress
toward the vision.
Second, the vision needs to be exciting. Not
just to the people who craft it, but also to your
team who will be charged with fulfilling it.
Mission answers the question: why are
we going there? It's not enough to tell peo-
ple where we are going, but also give them
the "why" of making the journey in the first
place, and that reason needs to be compelling.
It gives you and your team a sense of purpose
and motivation to do what they do every day.
Most organisations define the mission as
what they want to achieve.
Simon Sinek, author of the book, Start with
Why says the "why" matters more than the
profit. It is your purpose, your cause, and your
belief. If you are able to identify why your or-
ganisation exist, beyond making a profit, it is
more likely to not only inspire your employees
but also to move your customers to support
In his TEDTalk on "How great leaders inspire
, Simon Sinek points to Steve Jobs and
Apple as an example. He argues, "If Apple were
like everyone else," they would say, "We make
great computers, they're beautifully designed,
simple to use, and user friendly. Want to buy
Instead Apple says, "Everything we do, we
believe in challenging the status quo. We be-
lieve in thinking differently. The way we chal-
lenge the status quo is by making our products
beautifully designed, simple to use, and user
friendly. We just happen to make great com-
puters. Want to buy one?"
This philosophy seems to be working for
Apple. It is the most valued brandin the world.
Sineksummarises, "People don't buy what
you do, they buy why you do it."
Similarly, for employees, oftentimes, it is
not what they do that excites them but why
they do it. If you are able to give them a com-
pelling mission beyond just making money for
the company or for themselves, they are more
likely to be excited to wake up on a Monday
morning and come to work.
Values answer the question: how will we get
there? Theyguide behaviourand decision mak-
ing. Your team members, your colleagues know
what to do, not because of company rules, reg-
ulations, policies and procedures, but because
they are clear on the values that should guide
Goals help demonstrate whether the team is
getting closer to or farther away from achieving
the vision. Goals aren't motivators; that's what
the mission is for. Goals provide the markers to
let your team know that they are on the right
path, that they are progressing in achieving
Try this out at your work place:
Write down the five key characteristics you
feel an ideal team member should have. Then
ask your team members to write down what
they think are the five characteristics of an
ideal team member. Compare notes. If you
have a perfect match between your list and
your team members' list, then you probably
have a great team.
Most managers may find that the charac-
teristics they write down are different from
what their team writes down.
Often the problem is that they simply do not
know what your expectations are, because you
have not clearly communicated them.
Develop the list along with your team, write
it down, and then share it with anyone who
joins the team so that expectations are clearly
identified and understood by all. Post it on the
lunch room notice board.
All of the above forms the baseline blueprint
that all leaders and managers need to identify
and solidify in order to build and/or develop
a successful team.
Without this blueprint, you simply have a
group of employees who are working toward
their own individual needs, which are not likely
to align with your vision for the success of the
By developing a blueprint for success, you
will be able to quickly and effectively engage
your employees into working as a collaborative,
proactive, and productive team.
Implement these five keys to making your
teamwork work for you, and you will enjoy
a higher level of productivity and employee
motivation and engagement.
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