Sunday, February 23, 2014

Creating High Performing Teams - 10 Essential Team Qualities

My most rewarding work moments came when I was part of a successful team, I'm always looking for opportunities to be part of another great team, if you've not had that feeling you are missing out, it’s a euphoric feeling along with a deep sense of accomplishment – one you can only get from pulling together and working as a team.

I hear the Team word used a lot but in many cases it’s not backed up by actions, it's important to be able to realize when there is a team poised for success rather than a faux team built off buzzwords.

Those who show up for team events and do not play are called spectators.

Just being part of a group or organization doesn't mean you are part of a team. When you break down a team they have well defined characteristics and operate based on predefined team functions. Many companies, families organizations say they are a team but don't act, nor operate like one. In fact the most successful teams I've been on came together organically - when people want to participate that is much more powerful than forced participation. Many teams come together through happenstance, you've got to recognize when there is a goal to accomplish, gather the players and take ownership to make the team a success. Even if your not part of an "official team" you can still get a great deal of satisfaction from participating in non-sanctioned team efforts.

Teams are most effective when you have a clear goal with set objectives, without goals assembling a team can do more damage than good - the damage is caused by setting the wrong expectations - using the word TEAM means something to people, many have been on teams since before they got their two front teeth, if you say team you better be able to show them you mean it.

Remember unmanaged expectations lead to disappointment.

All great teams have certain characteristics. They have defined functions such as a purpose, a coach, a captain, and players who can fill positions on the team. Teams must practice together, communicate and all understand how their function will support the goal. If you do not have all these functions in place you will fail, you've got a bunch of players - but not a team.

It's easy to test the team hypotheses; if you ask any player on a random sports team, what position do you play - they will answer. Ask them what their team ranking is, when is their next competition or what the try-out process is and you'll get an answer. Ask them what the goal is and based on their standings, last competition and gut they will give you an answer. A sports team embodies teamwork.

Now look at your "Team" - can you answer these questions? Do you know the role you play? Are you a coach, player, or perhaps an MVP? If you know your role that's great, but how close are you to meeting the goal? Do all members of the team know about the goal, and most importantly their part? When is your next competition, are you in communication with the coach. When do you practice?

Here are 10 Key criteria for a successful team, take a look at the teams you are on and see which ones could use some strengthening

1) non sanctioned teams can produce the best results
2) define success, we win when these goals are achieved - common goals
3) There must be a team captain, someone who can play the game and calls the plays
4) Pick the best, bench the rest(harsh reality when you are going after a goal)
5) You must be a team player, meaning you play the role the coach picks for you
6) Your captain better have a track record, and you need to listen - leave your ego at the door
7) Players must understand their functions, and have defined roles and responsibilities
8) If the Team fails we all fail, we need a way to keep score
9) Keep only a team big enough to meet the goal set for the team
10) look for passion, like works 9 to 5 passion works 24/7

Teams inside of companies are established and broken down based on need. Just because you've not been picked for the team you wanted that doesn't mean you can't play on another team supporting the goals and objectives, companies need many teams to be successful

The key to being picked to play is to be a team player, practice several functions, be ready when the captain picks you for one of the teams. And if you are picked, feel free to ask the basics, such as what's our goal, who else is on my team, how do we define success, when do we practice and what role do you see me playing. You can choose which teams you join choose carefully and you'll be rewarded.

Next time you’re being told you’re on a team ask for proof, not in only words but also actions.

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