The Five Cs of Team Success
By Paul Rutter
you work in a large company with thousands of employees or a small
office with only two staff members, teamwork is vital for your
organization’s success. Without teamwork, people drift off following
their own agendas, allowing the company’s goals to stagnate. But
when effective teamwork is in place, everyone directs their energies
towards a single focus, and they typically achieve amazing results.
many managers, the question is, how do you build a solid team of
people who work well together and move the company forward? Even
though a horde of business books preach teamwork principles, many
managers still find themselves directing individuals and playing
referee rather than leading one cohesive unit—one winning team.
Fortunately, building a winning team isn’t as complicated as it
often seems. If you’re ready to build a true team that’s geared for
success, then all you need to do is follow the five C’s of
Build Community – As a manager, you need to make sure everyone
feels that they’re a part of the team. Realize that this process
starts before a new person joins your team. For example, during the
interview process, you can introduce qualified candidates to the
other team members so they can get an idea of their potential new
co-workers. When you hire someone, rather than just make an offer of
employment, you can also explain what they can expect to encounter
at your company—its culture, its values, its guiding principles.
Once someone accepts an offer of employment, you can give him or her
a welcome packet that details everything about the work environment
and team expectations. Then, on the person’s first day, hook the new
employee up with a “buddy” who can show the newbie around and help
the person adapt. The more you can “bring someone into the fold,”
the better he or she will adjust and feel a part of the group.
Realize that the first two to four weeks of someone’s employment are
critical for instilling that team spirit. If someone feels that
they’re not a part of the team after the first four weeks, the
person will likely leave.
Encourage Cooperation – To encourage a sense of teamwork, make
sure everyone knows both the short- and long-term goals of the
department and the company. Those people who have been at the
company a long time may even have a say in the goals. At the very
least, people need to have a say in the approach to meeting the
goals. Even if you don’t enact someone’s suggestion, let people
voice their opinions and really listen to what they have to say.
When people know that they’re being heard (even if their suggestions
cannot be enacted) they feel a greater sense of involvement in the
Support Coordination – Let each person know how he or she fits
in to the company’s big picture. Detail what each person is
responsible for and how that person’s actions and duties impact the
company as a whole. Be sure that each person accepts the needed
responsibilities of his or her job and is accountable for his or her
actions. Everyone is there to do a particular job, so remind people
of that fact and what their particular job is. A big part of
coordination is making sure everyone is actually present to do his
or her needed job. So in order to not hear excuses for why something
didn’t get done, make sure you define to your team the unacceptable
excuses for poor performance upfront. Obviously we all make mistakes
and are human, but we can’t allow people to repeat the same mistakes
over and over and use the same excuses continually.
Promote Communication – If you want people to feel that they’re
part of a team, then they need to be informed. Therefore, make sure
everyone knows what’s going on that week, that month, or for that
next project. Proper communication ensures that everyone is on the
same page and working for the same goals. To encourage
communication, have short meetings to bring everyone up to date. If
possible, keep meetings to no longer than twenty minutes. Long
meetings drain everyone’s energy and tax their attention spans.
During these short meetings, make sure everyone has an opportunity
to speak. This does not mean that you force everyone to speak;
simply make it known that everyone has the opportunity to offer
their perspective or voice their concerns.
Offer Continuous Coaching – When you coach people, either within
departmental guidelines or within their particular job duties, you
send a message that says, “You’re important.” Additionally, if
someone has been at the company for a long time, you could coach
that person for the future position he or she wants. Your team needs
to know that coaching is available and that you promote from within.
Why? Because people are willing to do more when they know training
opportunities are available and that there’s room for advancement.
Coaching creates a positive outlook for the team and your guidance
helps your team meet goals. The more you train or coach people, the
more they’ll meet goals and seek out more challenging assignments.
Success Starts with You: No matter how large or small your team
is, realize that teamwork rarely happens overnight. That’s why you
need to consistently lead by example. That is, if you want to
instill teamwork, you need to be willing to do whatever task you’re
asking your staff to do. You also need to focus on the positive
things people do to encourage more of it. So do the right things and
acknowledge when others do things right. Before you know it, you’ll
have a winning team that seamlessly works together, achieving
amazing results that propel the company forward.
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