How Do You Build a Team

Several factors affect the performance of a team (Exhibit 39.2).

You begin to build a team by giving them a clear goal. For example, you might challenge a sales team to win a specific account. Goals should be both demanding and realistic. All team members should consider the goals important.

Exhibit 39.2 Factors Affecting Team Performance

Goals

Discipline

Performance Objectives

Performance Objectives

Accountability

Communication

Skills

Performance objectives provide specific direction for the team. Your sales team needs to identify all the tasks that must be completed to win the specific account. The performance objectives describe specific outcomes that the team must achieve to attain the overall goal. Being invited to make a sales presentation by the customer or preparing a draft proposal would be examples of performance objectives.

A team needs to be balanced in skills so that they can view a problem from all its different angles. Some of the roles that should be present on a team include:

• Idea generator: Produces ideas.

• Evaluator: Examines team performance.

• Internal manager: Organizes the team and keeps it running.

• External manager: Coordinates the team 's contacts with the rest of the world.

• Implementer: People who actually make things happen.

• Completer: Finishes the task and decides when it is finished.

• Driver: Provides the energy and passion—rewards and punishes team members.3

Some people may play more than one role. For example, the implementer may also be a completer. A sales representative who is meeting regularly with the potential client may also be the one who closes the deal.

The key to an effective team is balance among the roles. For example, if everyone on the team is an idea generator, they will have very enjoyable meetings, but nothing will get done. Team members will enjoy sharing ideas, but no one will do the actual work. On the other hand, if everyone on the team is an internal manager or a driver, the meetings may be very unpleasant as each one jockeys to control the team.

Team members should agree on a disciplined approach to solve their problem. For example, the sales team may agree on an overall strategy to sell the potential client, and on the schedule for how the contacts will be made and how the proposals to the client will be shaped.

The team is responsible for achieving the goal. If the goal is not achieved, the team has failed; if the goal is achieved, the team has succeeded. This also means that all team members participate in the work of the team. Each member of the sales team should contribute something to the selling process.

Finally, team members must be able to communicate easily with each other. They must all be physically nearby or have seamless ways to communicate with each other.

A Team's Progress

Over time the effectiveness of a team should increase (Exhibit 39.3).

Teams begin as work groups. Initially, goals are assigned to the team. Often what may happen next is bickering and testing of each other as the team members try to organize themselves into an effective team and try to develop a level of confidence with each other. Some groups fail at this point to become a team.

Those groups who do become a team have a level of trust in each other and in the team overall. They also develop a spirit that they will succeed.

You need to watch the team for signs such as enthusiasm, commitment, self-identity (for example, a team name), and of course, results to judge if it is becoming more effective. For example, if the group of salespeople tasked with selling to a potentially large client is becoming a team, they will show their enthusiasm and might refer to themselves with a nickname. If they are not becoming a team, then members will skip meetings and their individual responsibilities will take precedence over those of the team.

Exhibit 39.3 Motivating a Team

Effectiveness

Time

Forming

Storming/Norming

Performing

Work Group

Becoming Team

Working Team

Happy to be chosen for group

Working out Relationships

Committed to team Energized

Source: Adapted from Peter R. Scholtes et al., The Team Handbook, GOAL/QPS and Oriel, 2003.

Source: Adapted from Peter R. Scholtes et al., The Team Handbook, GOAL/QPS and Oriel, 2003.

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