Everybody talks about teamwork. Great teams do blah blah blah. If you are not a team player then you are blah blah blah blah. The fact is that building a great team isn’t about shoving a diverse group of people into a room and expecting them to work miracles, it’s about empowerment, innovation and responsibility.
1. It’s not about you
As an entrepreneur, the most important thing you can learn about running a business and a successful team is that you don’t know everything.
You can’t do everything yourself and you don’t know every tiny thing about an idea or a business. Other people with their varying degrees of expertise and ability can help you fill in the gaps – embrace this and recognise their contributions.
2. Diversity is critical
People with different backgrounds, cultures, genders and personalities are the special ingredients that can make a team really shine. You don’t want twenty people who all think and dress the same way to come up with innovative ideas or lead a project – they will only think within their own frame of reference. What you want are fresh outlooks, different viewpoints and conversations that bounce off differences to create innovation.
3. Be financially savvy
Investing into a team costs money so balance the growth of your team against its deliverables in both the long and the short term. This is particularly true if you have created a team specifically to take ownership of a new product or idea – use smart people who can let you know really early on that this idea isn’t going to work.
4. Carve out time
When your teams are juggling a myriad of tasks and responsibilities it can see them lose focus or interest in the overall picture. It’s hard to juggle resources, especially in a small business, so square off dedicated time as part of your team’s workload. They can use this time to focus on a specific project or manage a particular situation and feel as if they are ticking their To Do list at the same time.
5. Autonomy and responsibility
People aren’t that interested in being treated like sad little sheep with no minds of their own, so don’t do this to your teams and your people. Give people clearly outlined key performance indicators (KPIs) and responsibilities and then let them get on with it.
If people understand exactly what they are tasked to do and have correctly laid out objectives, then they know what is required of them and are far more likely to do what needs to be done. In their own way.
6. A cultural fit
When you’re hiring people to join your team make sure that you have a well-defined internal metric that explains your ethos, value system and culture. You will very likely receive thousands of applications for a role, many of them dripping with expertise and experience, but you must make sure that the person you hire fits within the culture of your business.
7. Reward success
When a person has objectives and responsibilities and understands where they fit in the business, they feel part of something and relevant. That’s pretty awesome. However, people also want accolades and to be recognised when they work hard, go beyond the call of duty, and when they deliver.
Reward success, it really does transform people and team dynamics.