The Twelve C’s to Building Effective Teams
When building effective teams to create a successful working environment, managers need to understand that being a part of a team is a different experience all by itself. Members of a team are part of a larger whole with an espoused mission or objective and contribute to the overall success of an organization. A team is responsible for producing results that achieve those successful objectives. Team members usually represent different departments in an organization or are comprised of one department. Members are tasked with specific functions that drive the bigger picture.
It is extremely important to examine the objectives of a team. Is it merely to be effective in the workplace or focused on accomplishing a specific goal? Team building seminars, retreats and other activities are useless when the objective is not clearly defined early on in the process. If managed properly, a team is a useful tool for involving employees in the success of a business. They help to increase profits by improving a customers’ experience through improved products, services, and connections.
When a business has been unsuccessful in team improvement efforts, it should evaluate its methods through a list of team building techniques known as the Twelve Cs. This self-diagnosing list focuses on twelve areas that will not only improve the communication and functionality of a group but provide a clear understanding of the group’s purpose for the future.
1. The first concept that a team must understand is Context. The team should be able to answer specific questions, such as what is its purpose? Where does this team fit in to the scheme of things? Are the values, mission and objectives in alignment with the organization as a whole? Why have particular people been chosen to be a part of the team?
2. The second concept is Clear Expectations. Has the management communicated to the group its expectations? Do team members know why the team was formed? Do members understand what will happen if the expected outcomes are not achieved? Does the team clearly understand the resources that the organization will provide?
3. Keep in mind when building effective teams, it needs to have Competence. Are the right people on the team? Are they the best representative from their department? Do the members have the necessary skills and knowledge needed to handle any issues that might arise? Are they capable of dealing with problems and if not, do they have access to someone who can provide them with resources? Do members of the team have confidence in each other?
4. The team members need to have buy-in. They need to be Committed to the team mission. Do they feel that they bring a valuable resource to the group? Do they expect this opportunity to provide them with professional development that will help them advance in their careers? What kinds of incentives encourage the team to do well?
5. The team needs to feel that is has Control. Does it have the freedom to feel ownership of its goals? On the other hand, does it understand the boundaries that it must stay within? What are the limitations that the team identified when it looked at its context in the organization as a whole? Is there a process that allows it to review its current practices and implement a checks and balances system? If members do not perform their functions in a timely manner or follow the assigned timetable, are they held accountable? If so, what does that process look like?
6. Although the group is part of a larger whole with intended outcomes, has it designed its own strategies for goal setting? What is the team’s Charter? What is the design of the team? Has it defined how it will measure the outcomes and does the main leadership support its goals?
7. One of the most important and yet misunderstood concepts in team building is Communication. Members need to be clear about the priority of tasks and have a method of providing feedback in an honest yet respectful manner.
8. Without Collaboration, a team will ultimately fail. There are several stages of group development that are important in creating teamwork results that are productive. Groups go through several stages of development. Tuckman’s model maintains that four stages known as forming, storming, norming and performing are essential and inevitable in order for a team to grown, tackle challenges, find solutions and deliver results. Do the team members understand their role in the team and the group process? Do they know the established norms and conflict resolution and decision-making strategies?
9. The Culture of a group also effects their communication and collaboration. Although a team is a smaller part of a larger group, this does not mean that the culture of the group will be the same. Members of the group need to recognize this possibility and adapt to possible changes. The team may be responsible for implementing cultural changes into the larger organization if it finds that those strategies work well within its group.
10. Teams need to recognize the possible Consequences. Is there an established system based on rewards and recognition? What is the expectation when negative results are achieved? What about positive results? Will the success of the group be shared individually with members or only with the organization as a whole? Will the group members be able to see how their accomplishments impact the organization?
11. How is the group Coordinated? Is there a central leadership team that assists the group? Does the group have an established leader that reports to central management? Who do they go to if they need assistance? Is a hierarchy in place or does it need to be developed?
12. Without Creative Innovation a team will not be able to act as a change agent. The group must value creative thinking, new ideas and unique solutions to problems. Members need to be rewarded when they think outside of the box even if the idea does not always come to fruition. Members should be stimulated with training and have access to resources that encourage new and creative ideas.
By evaluating a team using these twelve criteria, business leaders will ensure that their teams contribute effectively to the success of their organization. Team members will feel valued and their success will fuel the company in a positive manner. Empowering employees to feel ownership in the company and its successes only increases those successes in the future.