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Monday, October 21, 2019

C-Suite Advisory

5 Ways to Build a Winning Team: It’s not easy

“This team rocks!” This is the holy grail for managers and leaders. And, there are millions of articles and blogs about how to get your team to that level of performance.

Here are five strategies to build a winning team.

  1. Find a team building model that works for you.
    Study the model and apply it to your team and your organization. At Organizational Performance Group (OPG), we use the Drexler-Sibbet Team Performance Model which is embodied in the graphic below.

    OPG uses the Drexler-Sibbet model internally and with clients to determine a team’s level of development, as a group and individually.
    Using a team development model helps managers and leaders maintain a view of the team as a whole and dynamic system. This prevents negative over-focusing on any one individual when a team encounters challenges.

    The Drexler-Sibbet Team Performance Model.

  1. Dedicate as much time to building your team as you do to reviewing the company’s finances. If you want the “real work” to get done well and efficiently, the team has to be a high-functioning organism. To get there takes time. Every moment of every day is an opportunity to build the team if you approach it from that lens. How can the morning start build the team? How can our recruitment process build our existing team? Do we need to deepen our interpersonal connections so we better understand each other?
  2. Be the team member you want your staff to be. What are the competencies you ask for? Model those. Get feedback about how well you’re exhibiting those competencies. If you haven’t had a 360⁰ feedback assessment done, consider doing so. Do it every two years, and have your managers and leaders undertake one as well.
  3. Be transparent. Many leaders believe that information must be metered out cautiously. Then they are surprised when staff make bad decisions or work is not done in the way they expected. Without information, and as much information as possible, staff cannot make the complex macro- and micro-decisions that add up to success both for their work and their team’s work.
  4. Let success be a reinforcing driver of teamwork. Literature and research in many fields (education, motivation, strategy) show that positive reinforcement leads to more success than negative feedback. Provide opportunities for your team, if it’s a new one, to have some early wins. Recognize success, even daily if appropriate. Work with your team to unpack the factors that led to those successes so they can tie success to specific actions. But don’t be pollyann-ish in this focus on success. Develop productive, non-punitive ways to take apart events and processes to see what can be improved. One rule for these unpacking sessions is to not allow the use of anyone’s name. Focus on what in the system is not working or making it hard for people and the team to be successful.

Sometimes, having some but powerful leadership mantras in mind that come up quickly and easily ßis the best way to keep your leadership evolving for the better. One mantra to consider is, “strategy, team, transparency.”

I wish you the best in manifesting your good intentions for your company and for your staff.


Written by Laura Freebairn-Smith.

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Laura Freebairn-Smith
Laura Freebairn-Smith, MBA/PhD, Partner at Organizational Performance Group. OPG is an organizational development consulting firm that believes people and their ability to work together are critical to the success of your company. Companies that inspire and empower their employees have a competitive advantage. Simply put, we believe an organization's success depends on its people. Laura is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine.
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