Building a successful business team is probably one of the most difficult parts of creating a successful business. Whether you’re one of a team of three business partners or the leader of a team of ten people in a larger department of a large business, building a successful business team is important.
Since you’re working with people here, building a business team can be a bit unpredictable. There’s no such thing as a perfect business team, but a good team will be a blend of people with different work traits and personality characteristics that tent to balance one another out so that your team can work effectively.
While it will take some time to make your team truly successful, these five secrets can help you speed the process along. Here’s what you need to know about creating a successful business team:
1. Set Expectations
One of the main problems with business teams and gauging their level of success is that no one defines what “success” means. This secret is twofold: you need your team to understand the overall objectives of your business, and you need the team to understand what is expected of them as far as performance and outcomes go.
This may be something you aren’t quite sure of yourself yet, particularly if you’re just starting out a business with a small team of people. However, it’s worth spending some time thinking about. What are the actual goals of your business? Of course, you want to make money, as all businesses do, but think beyond that. How are you going to make money? What actions and attitudes are going to make that process better and easier? Creating a clear, concise, and meaningful statement of purpose can help you move this thought process along, though this can, in itself, be a difficult thing to do!
Just as you need to figure out the goals of your business, you need to figure out the goals of your business team. If the team is the entire business, then this will be pretty easy. If the team is part of a larger organization, it may be more difficult. However, you’ll have no way to tell if your team is successful unless they’re working toward specific, meaningful expectations.
2. Evaluate Frequently
Another secret to building a successful business team is to frequently evaluate that team. Once the team has goals in place, figure out how close the team is coming to meeting those goals on a regular basis. If the goals aren’t being met, what can be done to change this?
Obviously, there are different ways to evaluate the success of a team. You do want to look at actual output and performance, but this isn’t all you want to look at. You’ll also need to examine the interpersonal relationships within the team. If there is a block or problem within one interpersonal relationship, this could lead to frustration or burn-out in specific team members, which is a sure way to get the entire team crumbling down.
Do evaluations using the observations of the team leaders as well as objective, anonymous evaluations by team members. Using evaluations on a regular basis can help you figure out how you can make even a good team even better.
3. Work on Communication
One of the biggest problems you hear about from business teams is lack of communication. Many of these problems occur because someone is making assumptions about communication rather than actually talking to team members. The problem may be within the team, but it could also be between the team and its leader or between the team and the larger business.
Set protocols for communication, and make sure important pieces of information are communicated in several ways. The key here is balance. Sending fifteen emails about the same thing is a sure way to waste time and get your team members very frustrated. On the other hand, failing to ensure that each team member receives and understands a message is another way to create frustration. Talking to team members about their preferred methods of communication is a good way to start creating communication protocols that can help your team talk with one another more effectively.
4. Understand Roles and Responsibilities
As was noted earlier, one of the keys to building a successful business team is having a balance of people on the team. Individual genius is great, but only when it actually helps the team. You want to put together a team of people that are good at different things and that think in different ways. If the entire team thinks alike, you’ll either have a dearth of great new ideas or a lot of head-butting from people who are too much alike.
One way to avoid problems like this is to delineate individual roles and responsibilities within the team. This works best if you allow it to happen organically within the team. If you’ve done a good job of selecting team members, it’s more likely to happen on its own, as people inevitably fall into certain slots within the team’s overall work load. However, at times, you may have to step in with a bit of direction, particularly if a certain job isn’t getting fulfilled or if two people are stepping all over one another trying to do the exact same thing.
5. Fun Outside Work
While many employees complain about team building seminars and workshops, there are ways to make them fun and beneficial. While your team members don’t necessarily need to be best friends, it is helpful if they can see one another as more than fellow employees. Understanding that other team members are multi-faceted and lead complex lives can lead to better communication, more cooperation, and more job satisfaction.
Even things like retreats and office parties can be helpful here, as long as they are looked forward to instead of dreaded! Team building activities can also help build communication skills, reveal the roles each team member is likely to take, and even uncover latent frustrations that need to be worked through for the team to continue to be successful. Often, hiring a professional to come in and help your team with this is the best way to get things going, and regularly allowing your team to have fun together is one way to make sure that more work gets done.