Building Your Team

Building your team. One of the most important principles in management and business is synergy. The principle of synergy says that the group’s output is greater than the total of the individual outputs of the group members. In other words, when five people work together synergistically in a team, their output and productivity can be equal to eight or 10 or even 15 people working alone and apart as individuals. This is why your job is to maintain high levels of harmony and happiness in your workplace. When employees are positive and happy, they tend to cooperate naturally and easily, and they get much more done than if there is disharmony or dissension. The very best and most profitable companies emphasize the importance of teamwork from morning to night. They think about it, talk about it, encourage it, reward it and promote it at every opportunity.


People love to be part of a larger group and to feel that they are making a real contribution to the whole company by encouraging teamwork. You bring out the very best talents and instincts of all of your people.


Five qualities of top teams. Over the years, exhaustive research has been done on teams to find the five characteristics or qualities of peak performance teams that you can incorporate into your own business. Here they are.

Number one key. Shared goals and objectives. In a smoothly functioning team, everyone is clear about what the team is expected to accomplish. The goals of the team are shared and discussed by everyone. Each member gives his or her ideas and input into how the goals and objectives can best be achieved. Each person feels like a part of the larger organization.

Socrates held 24 centuries ago that we learn something only by dialoguing about it.”

We have found a direct relationship between the amount of discussion people engage in about the team\’s goals and the amount of commitment they have to achieve those goals when they get back to work. If you tell the team members what the team’s goals are, then send them back to work. They will have a low level of commitment when they experience problems or setbacks. They will easily give up or wait for you to come along and tell them what to do. But when you propose goals and objectives for the team and invite their input and feedback when they go back to work, they will take ownership of the goals and objectives. They will feel a much deeper level of commitment to achieving the goals than if they were not consulted at all.

Number two key. Building peak performance teams is shared values and principles. In excellent teams, there\’s a regular discussion about the values, principles, and behaviors that guide the team’s decisions. The leader encourages values such as honesty, openness, punctuality, responsibility for completing assignments, quality work, and so on. Everyone discusses and agrees on what the values are.

Here\’s what I teach in my business growth coaching and consulting for clients who have grown a successful business after attending one of my training or after our business consulting contract. I teach them to do a values clarification meeting. They call a meeting and ask everyone to write down three to five values that he or she thinks should guide their company. Then go around the room and write those values on a flip chart or whiteboard. Many of the values show up on more than one list, such as integrity, good customer service, quality work, and so on. Once you\’ve written all the values on a flip chart or whiteboard, identify the 10 values that appear most often on your list. Then have everyone vote for the three out of the 10 that they consider to be the most important, like an election. You count the votes to determine the winners. You announce the top five values that you’re going to use to govern your performance and behavior in the company. By doing it in this way, everyone has a chance to contribute. At least one of each person\’s ideas is included in the final tally. Once we\’ve all agreed on the top five values, everyone feels committed to practicing those values in your business. You can conduct this exercise in about 45 minutes. You\’ll be happily surprised at the results.

Number three key. Building a peak performance team is shared plans of action. In this phase of team building, you go around the table and have each team member explain exactly what part of the work he or she is going to accept responsibility for completing. At the end of this discussion, each member knows what every other member is going to be doing and how his or her own work fits in with the work of the team. During this discussion about individual responsibilities, each person has a chance to ask others about their job. How? It will be measured, but results are expected from it. And when it must be completed, the conversation is open, honest, and free-flowing. At the end, every team member knows his or her place on the team. Every team member knows how he or she fits into the big picture. Everyone feels like a valuable part of the organization.

Number four key. Building a team is for you to lead the action. There must always be a clear boss or leader in any organization. Democracy is a good concept, but it goes only so far in business. Someone must be in command and take charge, and that someone is probably you. On a good team, everyone knows who is in charge. The leader sets an example for the others. The leader becomes the role model. If the leader expects team members to do their assignments well and complete them on time, the leader leads by example and does his or her assignments well and on time, if not in advance.

In addition, the leader of a business team has a special function to act as a blocker and remove the obstacles that may hinder team members from doing their jobs. The job of a leader is to make sure each team member has the time, resources, equipment, and support necessary to do his or her job in an excellent fashion. The leader not only leads the charge but also makes sure that the others are free to concentrate on doing the best job they possibly can.

Number five key. Building a peak performance team is continuous review and evaluation. In this final phase, the team regularly evaluates its progress from two perspectives.

  • First, is the team getting the results that are expected by its customers or others in the company. In dealing with customers, the team sets up mechanisms to continually ask customers, how are we doing? The best businesses have their hands on the pulse of the customer at all times. They\’re continually asking their customers directly and indirectly for feedback in every way possible. They\’re not afraid of criticism or negative responses. Top teams know that they can grow only if their customers tell them honestly what they are doing or failing to do.
  • The second area for evaluation is the function of the team, as every member is happy with the way the team members are working together. Are some members overloaded with work and others not busy enough? Are the values that the team has agreed upon working? Is everyone satisfied with the best businesses? Disagreements are handled openly and honestly. If someone has a problem, he or she feels free to bring it up. The team leader accepts responsibility for addressing the concerns of each team member. Everyone feels that they are all in the same boat together. One of the most important things you do in building a peak performance organization is to hold regular staff meetings, bring your people together weekly at a fixed time to talk, discuss, catch up on progress, learn how the company is doing, and generally share ideas, opinions and insights.

Here\’s an analogy that explains the importance of meetings.

If you\’ve ever had the experience of picking up a pebble from the bed of a river or stream, you will notice that the Pebble is smooth and rounded. Why is this? Is because the flow of water over the pebbles causes the pebbles to bump together continuously. This continuous bumping of Pebble against Pebble knocks off all the rough surfaces and causes each of the pebbles to become smooth and round.

It\’s the same with building your team. There\’s no other way to build a smoothly functioning, harmonious team of people than by bringing them together regularly and allowing them to bump against each other in the give and take of open conversation. Once a week, ideally on Monday morning, you should bring your team together for a general discussion. Prepare an agenda that lists each member\’s name as an agenda item.

This is to ensure that each person gets a chance to talk and explain what he or she is doing and ask questions of the others. You can start off the meeting with a brief recap of the past week. An excellent way to begin each staff meeting is with a piece of good news. It\’s also a good way to start off the week. You can then go around and ask each person to share with the others what he or she is doing, what his or her plans are for the week, and what questions he or she might have that can be answered at the staff meeting. Once you\’ve conducted the staff meeting yourself a couple of times, you can choose one person to lead it every week. This rotation of responsibility enables staff members to grow in confidence and competence and to feel even more important and valuable to the company. And they do a surprisingly good job. If a major subject comes up, that involves only one person, offered to deal with it offline, arranged to meet separately with the individual effect, a choice not to take up the time of the entire staff. When you begin holding staff meetings once a week, preferably with a table set in a square or a U-shaped, you\’ll be amazed at the quality of ideas that come out and the harmony that develops among all the participants. It\’s one of the best team-building tools you will ever use.