Building Successful Teams: 5 Ways to Generate Opportunities for Success

As a leader, it is your job to create the most favorable conditions for team success. This includes removing barriers to achievement, helping staff deal with work problems, and acquiring the resources needed to be successful. Here are 5 ways to enhance performance and generate opportunities for success:

1. Obtain the resources the team needs to achieve success. To function effectively, your team will need human, financial, information and physical resources. As the leader, you must procure these assets. While this is often a challenging task, you can make the process easier by answering the following questions:

* What are our primary goals for the next year?
* What steps will we take to achieve each goal?
* What resources are needed to carry out each step?
* What barriers will we encounter during the resource acquisition process?
* How can we overcome these barriers?

2. Recruit members that can help the team achieve success. Another important leadership duty is the recruitment and retention of high quality team members. A team cannot perform at a high level without the right combination of skills, personalities and experience. Answer the following questions to ensure the success of your recruiting efforts:

* What positions do we need to fill?
* What can we offer potential candidates (e.g., salary, benefits, educational opportunities, job flexibility)?
* Can we differentiate ourselves from the competition to gain a competitive advantage?
* Who are we trying to hire and where can we find these candidates?
* How will we let potential candidates know about our job openings and encourage them to apply?

3. Retain members that can help the team achieve success. Once you have a productive team in place, you want to keep your high performing team members. To reduce turnover, it is important to understand how employees make decisions about joining and leaving an organization. Specifically, there are seven factors that people consider when they are deciding whether to accept a particular job offer or stay within a particular organization. These include job location, salary and benefits, organizational prestige, professional development and advancement opportunities, flexibility, organizational support and the work itself. Organizations that do a good job of managing these factors are more likely to keep top performers.

4. Remove organizational barriers that can impede the success of your team. Even when you have a highly productive team, unexpected roadblocks will occasionally hinder your progress. This will not be a major issue if you do a good job of identifying the barrier and dealing with it in a timely fashion. You can do this by determining the specific cause of the problem, and working with team members to identify potential solutions. Make sure you include people who have the power to remove the barrier.

5. Identify and address the most difficult issues you face as a team. All teams face problems that must be addressed in a timely fashion. You can improve the problem-solving process through brainstorming, which is a relatively unstructured small group discussion technique that helps team members identify issues in a proactive manner. You can facilitate team brainstorming sessions by selecting an open-ended question such as, “What is the most significant problem we will have in the next 6 months?” Have team members offer as many ideas as possible and record each response on a flip chart. Participants should continue to build on each other’s ideas and identify areas of consensus. By using brainstorming in this fashion, you can identify issues before they become a significant problem.

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