Halford E. Luccock once said:
“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.”
If you want to be successful in your business, you must need a team. But does that mean you hire ten people today and just start working them in an office 9-to-5 from tomorrow? No plan, no mission, no process, no goal? How long do you think your business will float before sinking to the bottom? Or keep floating but never racing ahead of the competitors?
Just like creating a melodious orchestra, you will need your team to be with a united vision, prospective plan, robust dedication, and a prognostic eye to reach the common destination. Otherwise, the whole journey will end in creating a mess of uncoordinated discordant noise. The only way to make sure a harmonious team is by starting from the startup.
The history is the stark evidence of teamwork; be it fictitious as The Illiad or ancient as the Pyramid of Egypt or dramatic as The Beatles or monumental as Apollo 11. All of these points to one conclusion, there is no ‘I’ in the word ‘team.’ Teamwork is something that requires unity. Here are some simple but effective tips for the leader to ensure success from the startup with a superb team.
- Patience in Planning
We all know that a goal without a plan is just a wish. But the tool is ‘planning,’ not a ‘plan.’ You need to plan strategically about forming your team. It is essential to start it from the basics and grow the infrastructure as the team grows. In that case, it helps by answering these questions:
- What is the goal of this team that needs to be accomplished?
- What is the map to reach that goal?
- What values must be set for the team?
- What mission must the team be dedicated to?
- How will the progress of the team be measured?
Yes, planning is time-consuming. But an hour of planning saves hundreds of hours later. Instead of running head-first to speed up the process, you need to lay the foundation and start by adding one brick after another.
2. Wiring of Hiring
This part is the most obvious one: hiring members. Members are the heart of any team. Each individual is the strength of the team. The leader gets to choose those members, thus decides which strengths to bring to the team. But hiring is not an easy task, nor should it be. You, as the leader, need to contemplate the wiring of the team or the chemistry of the members. It is not advisable to quickly go for the heaviest resume. Read the person instead of the credentials first and target for the right talent. The points to be focused on are:
- The needed amount of members
- The positions to be filled in
- The strengths to be brought
- The complexities to be avoided
Recruit members based on their dream, drive, and motivation. You need candidates who can adapt because the necessary skills can be trained in the long run. Personalities of the members’ matter. The employee who works with the customers needs to be a good communicator and empathetic. Your designer needs to be creative; your tech-support should be understood when speaking to non-tech people, and your personal assistant must be trustworthy. And of course, balance the team by keeping it diverse; otherwise, there won’t be any room for creativity as everyone will have the same blindspot.
3. Communication avoids Conflict
The one thing that is reasonably imperative in any relationship is communication. Your goal should be to turn your team into a family where there is lucid communication among everybody. There’s no right or wrong with team communication styles; it can be verbal or written communication. Personality tests like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) can help evaluate your team’s communication styles and have a deeper understanding of how to bond between your team members well.
You can also use DiSC Assessment that is a personal assessment tool used to help improve teamwork, communication, and productivity in the workplace. The main goal is to avoid conflict to foster a co-dependent environment. Identifying the problem is the first step before fixing it. A few steps to be followed are:
- Try to keep the work setting casual where people are allowed to be relaxed and communicate openly.
- Schedule an informal happy team hour regularly when employees get to know each other outside the office environment.
- You can start by filling a paper by everyone where you can find interesting facts about others like:
o On this team, I am responsible for ____.
o The two skills I bring to the team are ____ and ____.
o I expect ____ and ____ from my team to do my work best.
o The way I like to receive feedback is ____.
o One interesting fact about me is ____.
- You can arrange an individual one-to-one meeting with the members to discuss the present and future of the company. Also, discuss the good and bad dynamics of team experiences so that you know which behavior to encourage and not.
One last thing… always be respectful and positively earnest to the opinions and ideas of team members. Many success stories happened from a ‘crazy’ idea!
4. Quantitative or Qualitative
You need to decide on how you are going to measure the success of the team. Is it going to be a quantitative or qualitative result? Will you consider the company growing bigger a success, or increasing productivity, or ensuring its fame in various sectors? Establish a team charter with a shared central purpose and let all the team members appreciate the results. Do not say “increase the rate of business sales” and then expect others to score them as you would like. Instead, be meaningful and specific enough like “increase 10% of the rate of business in the first four months.” Here are some steps:
- Set a cohesive goal for all the team members
- Set a few small milestones before reaching that goal
- Set individual responsibilities according to that goal
- Set regular meetings to ensure the pace
- Monitor the progress by asking “what stage our team is in?” every now and then.
5. Do’s and Don’ts
Some ground rules need to be established and strictly maintained because a working agreement defines what the team should hold each other accountable for. The list of those rules doesn’t need to be too
- and experiences and allowing others to do so
- Honoring time-limits
Holding accountability to long but must be explicitly clear. It will be a guide rail to everyone on how to work together amicably. The protocols can be on:
- Creating a culture for the team and sticking to it
- Being respectful to each other / never badmouth members within or outside the team
- Sharing valuable opinions responsibilities
- Always protecting a positive environment
The bottom line is simple. You either succeed in business or fail, depending on what strategies you take and maintain. As you need your team’s help to succeed, the right way to start is by making all of your team members a valuable part of the process. And never be afraid to sound like a broken record, “it’s all about the team!”