Regardless of our industry, our organization and our role within our organization, the ability to align and motivate the people who work for us or with us is a mission critical skill. Simple fact. And this is not an easy thing to do. Almost everyone shows up with their own ideas, their own agenda, and their own dreams of being the leader. So how do we consistently get the people who we work with to play well together, to “share the sandbox” so to speak?
There are several steps to building and leading an aligned, motivated team. So, what’s the first key step towards higher effectiveness and performance from your team? The answer is simple. Before you do anything at all, the key to building a great team is to get very clear, in your own mind, what the purpose, mission, goal, destination or direction of the team needs to be. What are you working towards? What are you trying to create? What problem are you trying to solve? What is the raison d’etre for your team’s existence?
You need to work all of this out before you can even hope to build a great team, because this work — this thinking — will set up everything else in your effort to build a great team.
Start there… think about where you want and need the team go, what you want or need them to achieve. Be as clear and specific as you can. Be as action-oriented and results-based as you can.
“Our team needs to reduce $500,000 of wasted expense in the next three months.”
“We need to increase our market share by 10% in 2010.”
“We need to raise $1,000,000 for the cause this year.”
“We will win five medals at the next Olympic Games.”
Fill in the blank for whatever is necessary for you and your organization. But the point here is that great teams start with a clear purpose. Otherwise, things get murky, harder to define, and harder to control.
At The Latimer Group, we believe that successful teams are built on honesty, open communication, and collaboration. For more on team building and team communication, look for Dean Brenner’s book, Sharing the Sandbox: Building and Leading Great Teams in the 21st Century, on sale now.