Building Blocks for a Successful Team
By Lawler Kang
The key to
management is making teams work. It doesn’t matter if you are a
hospital administrator running a wing or an order-entry manager
looking for six sigma perfection. If you can’t make a conglomeration
of skills, experiences, backgrounds, values and mindsets called a
‘team’ be productive, both your organization and your personal
success will be severely thwarted.
does this collective catharsis come about?
Here are a few building blocks for creating a team that not
only dents the door of poor performance, but potentially blows it off
and most important building block is to make sure you, the leader, are
passionate or inspired about the focus of this effort.
This is absolutely critical as the leader sets the tone and
culture for the team. How
do you identify and align your personal passions with this mission?
Look back through your range of life experiences to cull out
those brilliant nuggets of what you absolutely loved about particular
experiences. Look for
patterns in these nuggets and connect the dots with your current
doesn’t tie out, then you may not be the best person to run this
particular team. Although this may seem like career suicide, do you
really believe taking on projects you could care less about will boost
your career without burning you out? It may be heroic to boldly
shoulder projects and teams that are heavier than a black hole, but
the odds of your energy being sucked over the time horizon, never to
return, are quite real.
building block is to ask potential team members to go through a
similar exercise to explore their personal passions and current
mission. The reason behind
this is simple. A surefire
way to minimize risk of team dissonance is to align the missions and
passions of the leader with those of the rest of the team.
Once you all are on the same impassioned page, the ability for
group speed-reading with excellent retention and comprehension will
block three is to take a good inventory of your potential team
member’s offerings, bearing in mind that you want to emphasize their
assets while minimizing their liabilities.
Ask them to fill out a ‘personal balance sheet.’ List
short-term assets and liabilities that are skill sets. Take a close
look at the functions they excel at and those that repeatedly appear
on performance reviews as ‘areas for improvement’.
the long-term entries into two categories: values and experiences.
Values are those qualities with which team members respectively
love and hate to work. Experiences,
on the asset side, are those life experiences you want to draw on all
day. The liabilities entries are those life experiences you still want
to have (your dreams!). The
reason they are ‘liabilities’ is that they haven’t been realized
yet and they are accruing lifetime interest.
this detailed and squishy information so important?
A few reasons. First,
you want your team not to be an agglomeration of pitchers; you want
the best pitcher, the best catcher, first baseman, etc. you can find
for your specific needs. Matching
up requisite skill sets with those on their balance sheets is a good
way to select your squad.
skill sets are only a small part of what makes teams really thrive.
Having a common set of values is absolutely critical to the
success of your efforts. Additionally,
the more your team members can draw on their life experiences in their
daily affairs, the more fulfilled (and productive) they will be.
team has come together, generate a mission statement for the group.
Something short, sweet and perhaps a little sassy that plainly
spells out how you will measure your combined success.
you can align your team members’ dreams with the goals or outcomes
of your project, the more of their personal passions you will be able
to draw on. It could be
something simple, like giving someone who has always wanted to visit
the Grand Canyon
a free ticket for outstanding performance.
It could be giving a team member a savings bond to help send
their child to college. Being
able to understand the real reasons why your team members are going to
give this project their best is understandably a blessing in terms of
motivating and compensating them for their (impassioned) efforts.
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