Why the Emphasis on Teams?

Everyone in an organization plays an important role in its overall performance. It’s no longer enough to be good—you must be exceptional. It is no longer enough to have satisfied customers, you must seek to develop a loyal and delighted customer base. It’s no longer enough to “maintain.” You must be aggressive, responsive, and quick. The challenge is getting everyone in the organization committed and focused on achieving organizational success.

To solve complex problems and sustain a competitive edge in a rapidly changing marketplace requires a broad mix of skills. It will require harnessing the collective intelligence of everyone in the organization. A team of individuals with highly specialized knowledge and diverse skills will provide you with greater mind power and more innovation. It will also provide more effective, implementation of a solution or idea enhanced with a well-coordinated team.

John Katzenbach author of The Wisdom of Teams indicates, “It is also well recognized by those who study the issue, that teams have been woefully under exploited in their ability to have a clear impact on the performance of large organizations. This despite the growing recognition of what teams have to offer.” Effective utilization of people through teams is a viable business strategy and management tool that can help you capture the knowledge of everyone in your organization.

Creating a winning team begins with creating a culture in which people are encouraged to challenge, to question, to try, and to innovate. Surround yourself with and create teams of the best people the organization has to offer. Bring people into a team as they are needed based upon their expertise or abilities.

Alignment must also occur between the team’s activities and its outcomes. If continuous improvement is to occur, teams need to focus on improving key business indicators. Therefore, measurements must be developed and reviewed regularly by the leadership teams to ensure progress. If teams get bogged down, it may be necessary to review the goals to ensure understanding, to review the team composition, or to provide refresher training on the use of team tools and dynamics. Get everyone involved. Pass along ownership of processes and problems to your employees that rightfully belong to them. Many executives spend far too much time solving problems that could be handled by someone else.

Competency is important when creating highly effective teams. The personal competencies necessary for teamwork are technical and interpersonal skills, attitudes, and the desire and ability to achieve goals. Technical competency is a thorough understanding of how to do the job and the skills required to fulfill the job requirements. Interpersonal skills are those skills required to successfully interact with others. Attitudes include confidence and a belief in one’s ability to positively influence outcomes. Each individual team member must bring high levels of personal and technical competencies, which will contribute to the overall team competence. This means that every individual has a personal responsibility to make a positive contribution to overall team performance. Every team member knows their job, but they collectively have the attitude that each person on that team will do whatever it takes to get the job done.

Team building for high achievement depends on individual abilities to: collaborate, be flexible, share responsibility, and establish and commit to achieving goals.

Persistence and tenacity are contagious in team pursuits and are personal qualities that must be developed.