The four qualities of a great team

Oliver Sheer

From Manchester United to Netflix, and Apple through to the Oakland Athletics baseball team that was so vividly depicted in Michael Lewis’ book Moneyball, there’s a lot we can learn from the world’s most successful teams. It’s in looking at the common threads between them that we can establish the qualities of a great team.

1) A great team has a clearly defined, positive goals

When you look at the qualities of a great team, one thing that stands out as a common thread is that the team is unified behind a single goal. In a great sports team, players are less concerned about their own personal performance, and more motivated by the performance of the team as a whole. A great sales team doesn’t incentivise its staff to “steal” sales from other team members (which happens frequently when sales teams are not structured well.
All team members on the team understand the position the team is in, and what the endgame looks like. Goals will be ambitious, but achievable, and there should be a singular focus on achieving that goal from everyone within the team.

2) Great teams have clearly defined roles

Every person on a great team knows exactly what their role is within the context of the team. This isn’t an issue of seniority, or about establishing hierarchies by ensuring everyone
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Building a cohesive team, in six critical steps

Kingsley Seale

A cohesive team will be more productive and have a more positive approach to its work. Building a cohesive team means that each person on the team will work effectively with everyone else, and everyone’s unique skillsets will be utilised to the maximum potential.
Building a cohesive team isn’t necessarily easy, however. There needs to be a clear and defined strategy behind the team-building exercise, and there are several things that business leaders should consider when looking to develop that strategy:

1) Aim for diversity

A well-rounded team will draw on the expertise from a wide range of people. This will give the team additional capabilities and perspectives in work, and this will ultimately result in greater levels of creativity, and better results.

2) Set down a specific mission

Before you even start recruiting for a team, establish what that team’s mission will be. This is important in making sure that the whole team will be unified behind that one ultimate goal, and it will help you find the right people for the team (i.e. those that are going to be driven to achieve the mission’s goals).
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Uniting Teams Through Cross-Functional Communication

Oliver Sheer

Most organisations work hard at fostering good communication between members of specific teams and units. This makes sense of course, since people within teams need to interact with their teammates on a daily basis. Less common, however, is a focus placed on fostering communication across roles within the organisation, and yet this is becoming increasingly important as different departments need to operate closely together in the modern business.

Physically bringing teams together to encourage cross-team communication is only the start in fostering better cross-functional communication. It’s how you then find avenues for communication that will make or break such an initiative.

The first step is to get input from people from all departments; especially those that you know will benefit from working more closely with other teams within the organisation. Understand where the communication pain points are, and where there are information breakdowns between departments. Also look to obtain honest feedback on how they would like to see communication improved within the organisation.
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The Ultimate Guide To Planning A Team Event

Kingsley Seale

A team event is an important – and potent – way for your staff to unwind, socialise, and make better connections with their team mates. But they can only be truly effective if they’re planned and executed strategically. Planning a team event that is effective in maximising outcomes requires careful consideration, and there are consequences for getting it wrong – not only will staff be bored or disengaged at the event itself, but they’ll be disinclined to want to participate in any in the future, and it will be much harder to justify the investment in organising them as a consequence.

So what are the secrets to planning a team event? How should you approach it, who should you speak to, and what steps should you take? The first goal has to be to have a specific goal in mind from the outset. It shouldn’t be just “to have fun.” A good event should be planned around facilitating a specific type of communication, or developing specific skills. It’s only once you know what the outcomes for your event should be can you move to the planning stage in full.

What should a team event look like?

A really great team event will be interactive and collaborative, in such a way that encourages each member in the team to develop their commitment, engagement and accountability within the team.
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How to organise the perfect team-building activity

Oliver Sheer

When you go about organising a team activity, you should be aware of what, exactly, you are looking to achieve with that activity. You can, of course, discuss this with your activity provider, and indeed a good activity provider will ask you what the target outcomes are for any given activity. But at the same time, you should think about this before even engaging with the provider. The clearer you are on what you want to get from an activity, the more you will get from it.

What does a successful team-building activity achieve?

On the most basic of levels, a successful team-building activity will entertain. And that in itself has value; people who are entertained, or have the opportunity to take their mind away from work for a time are people that go back to their work rejuvenated.

But there’s more to it than that. A good team-building activity is in some way educational. That is to say, the team will come out of the activity with knowledge or expertise that they didn’t have previously, and Read more

How to recruit the perfect team player

Kingsley Seale

If you hire the wrong person, your business is going to suffer. It’s difficult to put a precise dollar figure on it, but you’d be looking at between $11,000 and $24,000 in lost revenue, according to CareerBuilder figures. This number doesn’t really include other “soft” costs incurred, however. How do you put a dollar figure on the damage a poor hire does to the morale of an organisation?

This is why businesses have a hiring process in the first place – to make sure that their hire is the right “fit” for the company culture and its approach to work. Those hiring processes can often be very intricate and in-depth. But the key is to not just have a multi-staged hiring process because it sounds good and it seems like the right thing to do. It’s to develop a robust structure around hiring that aims to strip as much risk out of a highly subjective process as possible.

1) Define what an ideal team member looks like.
Every business wants people who are hard working, honest, accountable, innovative, creative, driven, organised Read more

Yet More Advice from Sir Alex Ferguson On Leading Teams to Victory

Oliver Sheer

In a couple of recent blog posts, we’ve looked at leadership advice from one of the greatest football mangers of all time, Sir Alex Ferguson, as outlined in his book, Leading. There’s a lot that business executives can learn about good leadership from the formation and management of a winning football team, and Sir Ferguson’s insights apply equally to all business types.

For the third and final blog, we’ve got yet more insights on critical values that a good business leader should either already have, or work hard to develop:

1) Less management, more leadership

A manager intimidates, holding the threat of punitive action over their team to keep them in line. It’s an old and ineffective way of doing things. The manager exercises control and authority, but also alienates people Read more

Tracking the New Trends in Team Building

Kingsley Seale

Just as approaches to business change over time, so do approaches to team building. How teams work together, how they are formed, and what is expected of each individual team member as part of the whole is significantly different now to what it was a few years ago. Now, the goal of most leaders is to promote unity, enhance collaboration, and create a “one team” attitude within organisations. This is different to earlier organisational wisdom, that encouraged individuals to have a reasonable level of competition with their peers to drive them to greater personal productivity and results.

This shift in thinking is also affecting the kind of team building and organisational events that businesses take their teams on.

How competitive team building events have evolved

The focus with competitive team building events has seen a decided shift towards those events that require close teamwork. The most popular activities, such as The Amazing Race, Read more

More Advice On Leadership From Sir Alex Ferguson

Oliver Sheer
We already covered some of the leadership tips and tricks that executives in all fields could take from Sir Alex Ferguson, one of the greatest managers of professional football in history, if not the greatest. We’ve got more advice to share in this article, and, as with the last, put your preconceptions about professional sports being different to other industries to the side; all of these management techniques below will apply to you every bit as much as a football manager.

For more information, or more in-depth insights into Sir Ferguson’s techniques, be sure to read his book, Leading.

Set high standards, but be fair

A well-run organisation needs to set high standards of its team, and expect the very best results from them. At the same time, those expectations need to be fair, and avoid piling too Read more

What You Can Learn About Leadership From Sir Alex Ferguson

Kingsley Seale

If you want to learn how to lead a group of people, you can do far worse than drawing inspiration from Sir Alex Ferguson. Without a doubt the most successful football manager of all time, Ferguson has amassed 49 trophies from teams that he has lead, whether that was Manchester United (which he took from being a struggling team to the biggest name in football), or any number of other teams that he has guided along the way.

Sir Ferguson’s new book, Leading, contains some very valuable insights on how to create a team of winners, and build a team’s culture, which apply every bit as well to the business world as it does a sporting team. Here are some of the most critical insights.

Watch people, learn from them

One of the defining skills of a good leader is one who is observant of those around him or her.
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