Starting and running a business takes more than just a good idea. Located in Sitka, Alaska, and now Phoenix, Arizona, Dr. Jeff Comer has spent 20 years as the CEO of multiple organizations and knows the value of a strong team. When each individual is working hard and communicating effectively, a sense of community and partnership can be established, leading to better results.
What to Take Into Account When Building a Team
Developing an effective team can be accomplished in different ways. The generation of an idea can be an individual process where one person advances or builds upon an existing idea. It can also be a collaborative project that multiple people from different functional areas work on together. Depending on the business and the situation, both strategies can be effective.
Working as a team within an organization requires strong relationship skills. While customers, budgets, and technology can have a significant impact on the bottom line of a business, team communication is always centric and will help the company grow.
Focus on the Team
Making individual team members feel appreciated is important; however, for team success each member of the team must be treated equally. Although the unique contribution of each individual must be acknowledged, it is the collaborative effort of the team that must be rewarded. Additionally, the collective team should understand the roles of the individual team members, the scope of the project, the outcome desired, the time frames for completion, and how the team is expected to work together.
Find Team-Oriented People
Inside any successful team, there are a set of roles and cultural norms. When focusing on these roles, knowing the individual team members is essential. Recruiting the right people for the job involves a willingness to understand their points of view. How an individual thinks and communicates is often just as important as what specific skills they bring.
There are some individuals who would make an excellent employee, but not a great team member. Jeff Comer has experience as a CEO and a Doctor of Psychology in understanding which people have potential and who can succeed in a team environment. The “wrong people” does not necessarily mean that they are lacking in job skills, it simply means that their ability to collaborate is not their strength.
Individuals that do not flourish within a team atmosphere are likely to have different interests or priorities. For example, if an individual has very specific technical capabilities but struggles with compromising and working with others, he/she may be the wrong person for a team.
When joining a team, most employees are enthusiastic. There is a joint eagerness for collaboration, which can provide a bonding environment of excitement and energy. Although this initial willingness is important to initiate a project, the process should not be rushed. Selecting members just because they have impressive skills in select areas can be counterproductive if they are not team oriented in an environment where teamwork is required.
The Team Selection Process
CEO Jeff Comer has a process for making team selection more successful by asking several key questions.
1.) What is the desired business culture overall?
This is an important question because the culture should drive the norms of the organization, including individual teams. For example, some newer companies may prefer to have a work structure where the office functions more like a community of friends. This can potentially work if everyone is respected and has the same desire to work as hard as the person next to them. Other companies choose to work remotely and communicate solely through video chat or phone. Business culture sets the tone for what’s appropriate in the office environment and co-worker relationships. Hiring must be centered upon finding people with the relevant cultural fit. In some circumstances, skills can be taught; however, personality fit cannot.
2.) Does the person’s expectations match what is needed?
Everyone’s expectation of success is different. While working long hours and weekends to get ahead may be the successful goal for one employee, working minimal hours to achieve work-life balance may be predominant for another employee. When looking for the right people to participate on a team or join an organization, their priorities, goals, and expectations will also shape the direction of where a business is headed and must be considered in the recruitment process. People who understand up front that a team environment is expected will be more likely to thrive, leading to team and organizational success.
3.) What skills are required for the team?
If all team members contribute the same set of skills, there will be readily apparent gaps in the knowledge present and the team will not be as successful. Finding people who bring different attributes is beneficial for solving problems that are complicated in structure. When forming a team, it is important to select people with skills that support one another. Then framing the project into realistic steps will help team members to easily understand their place and contribute their unique skill set.
4.) How will the relationship of the team grow?
Teams with stagnant or ineffective relationships typically cease generating new ideas and solutions. Relationships must be strategically cultivated to improve performance. Setting shared corporate culture, norms, values, and expectations can help a team to strengthen and perform better. One of the best ways to ensure favorable team functioning is to constantly celebrate the team’s small successes and milestones when achieved.
A business team is often built around one common purpose. Although that purpose can keep the project propelling forward, it is often the communication effectiveness of the team that helps achieve optimal results. The successful business team will enjoy working together in a respectful atmosphere of collaboration and provide the best performance and results.