Casino or cubicle – build teams that deliver results

By Kurirolf (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Kurirolf (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

How do you con the smartest casino owner on his own turf? If you’ve watched Ocean’s 11, the multi-star movie, you’ll know – build an ace team that can pull off the most complex tasks in style.

Our goals might be different from Mr Ocean’s, but as managers and team leads, we can all do with ace teams that deliver results. But the hurdles! If finding those star performers is difficult, getting them to function as a seamless, collaborative unit is another challenge altogether.

How can we build great teams that deliver outstanding results? What holds people together and motivates them to perform their best? Here’s our take.

Ensure that the group of people who form a team to achieve a goal:

  • Have the right skills. It often takes varied and complementary skills to complete a task. Ensure your team composition takes into account the diversity of skills needed to meet the goal.
  • Are ambitious and resilient. Not everyone is ambitious and not all people are equally resilient. Despite having the right technical skills, if the team members score low on factors such as ambition, resilience and perseverance, accomplishing the goal can be difficult. On the other hand, high levels of motivation and resilience can help a team take setbacks and disappointments in its stride and stay outcome oriented.
  • Have clarity over roles and responsibilities. Where does the buck stop and with whom? Who is ultimately responsible for which piece of task? Detailing out these responsibilities and removing ambiguity is a great way to elicit contributions from each team member and ensure that individual contributions add to collective results.
  • Are aligned with overall objectives. When each team member has pre-defined, individual responsibilities, it’s easy to lose sight of the larger goal. However, when members are committed to completing not just their own tasks but contributing to the overall group objectives, a team puts its best foot (rather feet) forward. 
  • Communicate and connect with each other. Team members often communicate with their team leads. But collaboration takes on new possibilities when members talk not just to the leader but to each other too. This helps them learn from and guide each other, and thus, propel the entire team forward.

Remember, a team’s success is not just driven by its members’ domain experience and expertise. While staffing for a project, look beyond mere technical skills and bring together people who can communicate, collaborate and be true team players.

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