Articles

Team Building for Success- Consistently

First golden rule- think and talk ‘We’ and not ’I’.

We hear about teams, teamwork and team building regularly and in the discussions that I have with people on the subject one issue stands out. There is an ominous gap between what currently goes into developing teams today and what is actually required for consistent team success. Successful team building is a constant not something you pick up one day and put down the next. Team Building is a competitive advantage and who isn’t looking for that!!!

So what do we actually mean by team building for success? If you look back in history to the Romans right up today there are countless examples in sport, commerce and entertainment of successful teams large and small. It is no coincidence, backed by research, that “effective teams” are more successful. The research also indicates that dysfunctional teams are more common than you think - why is that?

The team coach, which I prefer to manager, recognises that successful teams do not happen overnight and every team needs to be constantly nurtured. The philosophy of teamwork needs to be ingrained and championed by the leader of the team. Autocracy, bureaucracy and the like are doomed with a capital D.

Whatever the number in a team you need to match the distinct skills and competencies to the tasks in hand. Your role as coach is to capitalise on them. Like the orchestra there are woodwind, brass, strings and percussion elements. Forcing a cellist to play woodwind and you can guess the result. Yet that will be the same outcome if you force a big picture/ideas person regularly into a detailed analysis of data. It is a miss-match of competencies and they will not enjoy it. In football it would be the equivalent of playing David Beckham as a goalkeeper.

Ask yourself, honestly, these three questions

“Do I know what my team’s real skills and competencies are?”
“Have I got the right combination of skills?”
“Do I know how to identify who has the skills I need?”.

One tool open to you is the Myers Briggs Personality Type Indicator. There are others although this is the best one from a reliability and validity perspective. The key is having “typed” your team how do you use the information obtained to strengthen the team. Since the team coach/leader plays the key role how well he understands himself is vital. MBTI will assist significantly here.

Alignment exercises, measuring on seven scales, can identify where employees demonstrate a high or low degree of misalignment. If misalignment on any of those seven scales is apparent team success will unquestionably suffer. The coach will need to ensure that the team is not locked into fixed and predictable ways of thinking, opportunity exploitation, decision-making, creativity and a myriad of other tasks which today is a challenge.

Successful teams constantly learn, exchange information, experiences, successes,seek new challenges and support each other. They do not see failure only feedback .They have respect for each other’s views and TRUST each other. All powerful attributes.

The coach’s ability to communicate with the team will set the pace and direction for success or not. Take the following steps, they will help you.

·Do you find yourself telling more than asking?
·Are you a manager or coach? Do you know the difference?
·How many questions do you ask in a day and what type of questions?
·Can you accurately identify the required skill sets and who has them?
·Do you know your own personality type, those of your colleagues and the team
 implications?
·How would you address an imbalance in your team?

The benefits are obvious.

·Learning
·Greater productivity
·Vastly improved communication
·Improved creativity, thinking and problem solving skills
·Improved change and conflict management
·Higher levels of trust and motivated people

This article was contributed by Ray Bigger. Ray is the founder and managing director of Think8, a leading coaching, consulting and training company headquartered in Singapore and a director of Hospitality Strategies Asia Pacific. He has more than 25 years of sales, marketing, people and team development experience. As a former English Premier League and Football League Referee, Ray oversaw nine separate teams on any match day – the two soccer teams, two sets of benches, the ground and security staff, the police commander, the media and finally his assistant referee colleagues. He describes the experience as an epitome to learning quickly how to listen, talk, communicate and motivate a diverse range of people.

Email: Ray@Think8.Net
Website: www.think8.net
Tel: (65) 6875-0104



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