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How to build a successful team in your business

“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.” Babe Ruth, American Baseball Star.

What you can do + What you want to do = What you will do

What you can do acknowledges that you can only work with what you’ve got, so whilst a 60 year old man might want to run 100m in less than 10 seconds, his physical ability to do so is probably a limiting factor! In the work situation, this means making sure there are the right resources (skills, time, money etc.) to enable a task to be completed.

What you want to do suggests there is a desire to accomplish something and in motivational terms, the outcome must be seen as worth it too – job satisfaction, recognition, thanks, monetary reward are some of the outcomes people look for and they need to be proportionate to the effort expended.

It’s a quick way for business owners to sense check that what you are asking your team to do has a chance of success by making sure the resources needed to accomplish a task are in place and that the outcome is something that your team will value.

In practical day to day terms, however, how do you as a business owner motivate your team? Theories abound and there’s a growing emphasis on understanding and managing individual behaviours as a key to building top performance. However, as a business owner you’re probably interested in some kind of ‘starter’ pack to work with so here’s some guidance.

For years, business theorists focused on how to build a high performing team – and struggled. Was it essential to get a mix of ages, skills, genders? Attempts were even made to put together teams by balancing star signs! All to no effect. Then some clever guys thought ‘why don’t we find teams that are already successful and find out why’…and here’s what they found; the most successful teams shared the following 8 characteristics:-

  1. A single, clear elevating goal…so everyone is heading in the same direction
  2. Results driven structure…so everyone is clear about what is being achieved
  3. Competent team members…so everyone has the right skills
  4. Unified commitment…so everyone is signed up to what needs to be achieved
  5. Collaborative climate…so everyone feels free to contribute and ‘speak up’
  6. Standards of excellence…so everyone needs to know what they are
  7. External support / recognition…so everyone is prepared to help and say ‘well done’
  8. Principled leadership…so everyone knows who’s the boss and what his/her expectations are

Actually, you might be surprised to know that the effort people are prepared to put into their work is much more driven by non-financial factors (provided of course the financial rewards are OK in the first place!) People are really looking for self-fulfilment – self-respect and achievement.

So, what are you going to do about it? It is clear from all the above that communication is central to the whole motivation process and your team will really only listen to stuff that makes sense – and that means you, as a business owner need to be clear yourself about where your business is heading so you can carry the team with you. We’d be pleased to offer you a complimentary business review meeting if you are less than sure about where you want to take your business.

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