Team Dynamics – Not Just Fun and Games

This blog originally published in Printing Impressions

 

Great leaders have the ability to assemble their players, articulate their game plan, and with everyone’s effort, turn their group of individuals into a team that gets the right things done and is hard to beat. You see it in sports, in the military, and in business. With today’s hyper-competitive marketplace, working on your team dynamics isn’t fun and games anymore.

 

Invest in your people

Some would argue that if you’ve got the best talent that it’s easier to be successful. OK, that could certainly give you a head start but they probably won’t reach their full potential unless they have the ability to work together, and contribute to the common goal. You’ve seen it a million times, a room full of all-stars all trying to work together? Really? How’d that work out? My thought is that talent alone won’t get you there. Running a successful business isn’t a singles match, it’s a team game. Major accomplishments are made through the efforts of the team. This is where your leadership skills come in. The reality is that most companies aren’t made up of top level all-star players in every position. They have a mix of talent, backgrounds, experiences, and motivation – that’s real life. The job of the leadership team is to make sure that each employee is in the right job, they understand what needs to be done, can work well together, and they provide them with feedback on how they’re doing and any course correction that’s needed.

 

Set expectations and create a scorecard

When things don’t always go according to plan, I’ll hear, “it’s their job, do I have to tell them everything?” The answer is no, but what you do need to do is to clearly spell out the direction and key goals of the business. Then, it’s easier to have each department team understand their roles, their key objectives, and the impact they make on the business. From sales to shipping, everyone has a role to play and can make the difference in having the client either say “wow” or say “what?!#?”Set the expectations and design a set of metrics that will give them the right feedback on their efforts and use these as daily, weekly and monthly checkpoints.

 

Communicate, communicate, and communicate

The question always comes up – how often should we meet as a group? My answer is “often enough.” It really depends on your business and your team. How fast are things going in your company and how your business is doing will help to determine the proper timing of receiving feedback and discussing new initiatives. When things are flush, some would argue to just leave things as they are, it’s working. When things aren’t going as well as you’d like, meeting more frequently could help, as long as the meetings are productive, on point, and helpful. From five-minute shift huddles, daily production meetings, sales meetings, department meetings, quality meetings, manager meetings, senior team meetings and the occasional company meeting, you can get overwhelmed with meetings and lose sight that there’s actual work to do too.

 

Watching film

As you venture down this path, you’ll spend time setting expectations and creating the proper set of metrics for each person and department. You’ll make sure that we’ve got the right level of talent where it’s needed, and you’ll have the necessary meetings that help communication and that solicits feedback from the team. And, just like great head coaches do, make time to watch film. By that I mean study the results of your efforts, position by position. Where are you exceeding, and where are not exceeding expectations? Study it hard, and work with the team to come up with the proper course-correction action items needed. Good luck and have fun.

 

Mike Philie can help validate what’s working and what may need to change in your business. Changing the trajectory of a business is difficult to do while simultaneously operating the core competencies. Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the Graphic Communications Industry by providing direct and realistic assessments, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach. Learn more at www.philiegroup.com, LinkedIn or email at mphilie@philiegroup.com.

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