Posted by: midpen | October 8, 2012

Building Teams On the Wave: The Six Characteristics of Fast & Flexible Teams

Photo of John G. Mathers, Consultant, from Evo Associates, Inc

John Mathers to give presentation on building and improving work teams

If you’re a small business that wants to become bigger , you will depend on highly effective “mixed” teams to get new customers, deliver your services, collect your fee and position your firm for growth. Come, join us for breakfast on November 20, 2012 and learn how to make your “mixed” teams more effective and powerful.

How our world has changed!  Not so long ago I had the privilege of working with hundreds of intact teams for a multinational semiconductor manufacturer.  Most of the teams had been together for many months and we were focused on jumping their productivity with a one-day simulation.  It was great fun for everyone … and the average increase in productivity was over 30% on their very next shift at work.  Terrific!

Now it’s totally different!  Intact teams with longevity are a rare commodity, especially for those riding the wave in their particular industries.  And perhaps it’s just evolution.  Teams do not work effectively like they used to.  Markets change with lightning speed.  Products, channels, logistics shift with the winds of consumer and corporate demand.  People change “jobs” often … or have no specific “position” but rather a role defined by specific needs.  But the essence of high performance teams remains: high levels of commitment, alignment, action, communication, and results!

“Working together” no longer means in the same group, or the same company, or even the same country!  Building a business today – no matter the stage of growth – means depending on “linked” teams within and outside a formal organization.  But how do you manage a business when you don’t control many of the resources (meaning people and their time) you depend on?  In an age of consumption, most enterprising managers look to performance incentives … and are shocked when they often don’t work.  And then they return to a subtle form of command and control as the “real” solution.

The answer in today’s complex and fast-paced world is the same as it was when I ran the simulation for the semiconductor company: building teams around common outcomes and demanding/respecting contribution.  It sounds so very simple, and in fact, most managers do some aspects of the key practices that make it work.  But few are doing them all … consistently and completely.  This is not an indictment, but rather a call to arms: the more thoroughly you do these practices the more powerful the results.  So here are the six practices:

  1. Linked or networked teams and team members, established across all borders, physical, logical and mental
  2. Outcome-oriented and aligned objectives
  3. Short-cycle, metrics-based review of performance
  4. Rational decision-making
  5. Dedicated individual contributors with their own feedback system and resources
  6. Team and organization management commitment to these practices … and to re-creation

These practices have worked for teams all over the world, independent of culture, corporate structure, or working environment!  Each has its won payoff, immediately rewarding the conscientious with no out-of-pocket requirement.  The last being the most difficult, for it is the commitment to teams that tames the chaos, builds inter-dependence, and promotes rapid growth.

So enjoy the chaos of the new marketplace and the fun that comes from working together and achieving outstanding results.  Join us for breakfast and learn more about building effective teams and getting the most out of them on Tuesday, November 20, 2012.

John G. Mathers has advised companies for close to four decades.  During that time he has worked with thousands of business people, hundreds of companies, in 18 different industry sectors, on five continents and addressed just about every issue associated with building and sustaining a successful organization.

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