The Seven Key Steps to Formulating a Winning Team

Published on 19 September 2019

Elize Hattin holding a board with an arrow

One of the biggest problems for business owners and entrepreneurs is that there’s only 24 hours in a day, and that they only have a limited amount of energy, attention and focus. While many business owners will try to take everything on themselves, it’s very important to find other people to help. In a recent Hub Live, SmartHub Business Manager Elize Hattin sat down to explain the seven key steps she uses to ensure the success of her own team right here in the SmartHub.

Firstly, why do we need teams? According to author and business expert John Maxwell, it’s simply that one is too small to build anything great, and if you’re building a profitable business, you’re going to need some help. “We’ve all heard the acronym TEAM, or Together Everyone Achieves More. In my personal experience, it’s completely true,” Elize said.

The information Elize shared can help you take your current team to the next level, sort out any issues within your current team or to understand the teams you’ll need to create in the future in order to start out on the right foot. This framework can help you think about how you’ll expand your team, how you’ll manage your team, or how you’ll introduce elements to ensure you have a magnificent team.

1. Strong Leadership

The foundation of a winning team is really, really good leadership. Even in large corporate companies, when they start failing the board replaces the leader, not the team. “The leader is the one who ensures the rest of the team and everything else that happens in the business, works marvellously,” Elize said.

Elize then went on to recommend John Maxwell’s workbook, the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, as an incredible resource for anyone leading a team, anyone with an interest in leadership or even just someone leading themselves. “If you have enough insight to realise that you’re actually leading someone, even just one person, even just yourself, then I can highly, highly, highly recommend this book,” She said. “I believe in this workbook so much that we use this book within the council. I use it in my own team for people to improve their own leadership. It doesn’t matter if you’re a great leader now, you can always be better.”

2. A Common Goal

The second stable of a great team is a common goal, stated in clear and concise language. In a previous Hub Live, Elize spoke about needing an overall vision for your business; for the SmartHub, this vision is to create a home for entrepreneurs where they can build their business, whilst accessing everything they need to succeed. While this vision is central to the SmartHub, their common goal for now is to build engagement within the community.

By having this common goal that has specific metrics that can be measured, it makes it easier for Elize’s team to keep track of their success. “We talk about it in our team meetings, “How are we going? Are we tracking towards our goals? What do we need to ensure that we’re getting closer to our goal?” And this common goal needs to inspire and enrol your entire team,” Elize explained. “When everyone is clear on what the common goal is, they work with you and together everyone achieves more.”

3. Culture Statement

Elize discussed the importance of a culture statement, also known as a code of conduct. This is important when you are systemising your business and it is a way of setting the standard for behaviour within the business. By creating a culture statement, you and your employees will understand what values are important to the business and what values should be imparted upon each other and upon customers.

“A culture statement is basically saying, “How are we going to behave while we work together in achieving our goals?”” Elize explained. “The words that can go on these culture statements are words like “respect,” so, “We respect ourselves, we respect each other, and we respect or clients, or our customers, or our members.” Words like “success,” as in, “We work together until we achieve success.” Words like, “teamwork,” or, “lifelong learning.” “We’re the kind of people who value learning, we continue to learn as we go and incorporate lessons into what we do.” Those are words that could be included in a culture statement.”

It is important to remember that your teams will reflect you in many ways, so be mindful as a leader about the values that you hold and how those values work in your business. Then write a culture statement from there about how your team should behave.

4. Right People in the Right Seats

In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins introduced this concept of getting the right people on your bus, then once they’re on the bus make sure that everyone is in the right seats. What this essentially means is once you have the right people for your business on board, you need to ensure that everyone is in the right position for the type of person they are. A great way to do this is by using behavioural profiles.

Most people fit on this continuum, between having a focus on tasks, or being task oriented, or having a focus on people, or being people oriented. For a task-oriented person, they might get to work in the morning and immediately think about what’s on their to-do list. For people-oriented people, they might be thinking about who else is at work and how they are. Interestingly, the 80-20 rule applies to this model as well, with generally 20% of people being task oriented and 80% being people oriented.

This model can then be divided into four, with 3% of people being drivers, 17% being analysers, 70% being team players and 10% being talkers. Drivers are fast-thinkers, visionary, big-picture kind of people, who focus more on results rather than details and they get jobs done quickly. Analysers are people who like a lot of detail and information, who want to do things the right way and create good-quality work. Most people fall into the team player category and are people who like being with and talking to other people and can be quite reserved. The final group are the talkers, who are the salespeople of the world. Talkers are the life of the party, enjoy being sociable and can sometimes be a bit loud too.

If you apply these profiles to your team it can greatly improve your teams happiness and productivity. “If you have a driver in the position where there’s a lot of analytical detailed work that needs to be done, this person will do a really poor job. It doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t do a great job in a different position, it’s just they have the wrong position,” Elize explained. “If you have team members in your business that are striving towards the common goal, they want to do this with you, they live the culture, they’re the right kind of people for your business, but they’re not performing well in their role, what you could do is test and see if you have that person in the right seat on your bus.”

5. Have an Action Plan

The next thing your winning team needs is an action plan. An action plan is essentially a plan detailing who is going to do what, by when. Elize uses action plans within her team, creating one overarching action plan while leaving her team members to create more detailed ones. “I have my bigger picture action plan, so I know exactly who’s responsible for what, and then I leave it up to the team members to make their own actual detailed action plans,” She explained. “Whenever they ask me what I think they should do, I’ll ask them first, “What do you think you should do?” and I help people to come up with their own answers. Your team knows what they’re doing, you employed them for a reason, and you need to empower them and support them to take risks.” Having an action plan ensures no tasks are left forgotten and promotes accountability within the business.

6. Support Risk Taking

You can’t have a team and then not support them to do the work that they’ve been tasked to do, which is why as a team leader it’s vital to support risk-taking. “If you know that the right person is on the bus, they’re in the right position, they know what the common goal is and they’ve agreed to behave in line with the culture statement, they’ve got an action plan and they know what they need to do, then you need to let them get on and do their work,” Elize said.

If you have a feeling that they can’t do it, then it’s time to review all the steps again and ensure all is well or check to see what training can be provided. “I’m an advocate for team training because I think when you invest in your team and train them, you’re really investing in your own business, because your business is greatly dependent on the skill level on your team,” said Elize.

One reason why some business owners hesitate to provide training for their team members is the fear that if they were to train their team and that team member were to leave, that it would be a poor investment. However, the opposite is true; if you train your team well, treat them right and enrol them in an inspiring common goal, it is highly likely that your team will want to stay. Every now and then members may leave, but that gives opportunity for someone new to step in and bring fresh new thinking to the team.

7. Communication

Whenever we talk about team in any way, communication always comes to the forefront. We all like to communicate, to be in the know, to know what’s going on and to be communicated to with respect. We don’t like being left in the dark or excluded, so communication is a fundamental foundation piece for running a great team.

Communication starts from the top with the leader, and ties back in with the common goal. “Refer to your common goal often, and when you give instruction, explain how it fits into the bigger game plan,” Elize said.

The behavioural profiles mentioned earlier can also affect how you may want to communicate with the members of your team. Each member may have a different style of communication, for example a driver may want you to get to the point rather quickly and not need a lot of detail, where as an analyser would prefer to get as many details as possible. Team players prefer being communicated in a reserved and steady manner with little change, and talkers like to talk, so it’s important to make sure they listen.

One of the hallmarks of being a great leader to a great team is having the ability to listen. Listen not only to your team but to your market, your consultants and the people around you. Being able to listen and really comprehend what other people are saying is one of the most fundamental communication skills a leader can have.

It is important to highlight that good communication does not mean always agreeing with your entire team. In fact, bringing multiple perspectives to the table while being devoted to the common goal can lead to creative problem solving. “Mature teams have the ability to disagree, but they disagree from a place of passion because they have bought into the vision and want to achieve the common goal. I like being able to play devil’s advocate and to say things how I think they are, and I like for other people to do the same. The reason behind any difficult communication or confrontation is to find the higher ground,” Elize said. “One of the trademarks of a really great performing team is the ability to have robust conversations, and then put all those conversations to one side and unite behind the strategy that everyone’s agreed to, and to execute the strategy to achieve the common goal.”

Here to help

These are the seven keys to a high-performing, winning team and with these in place your team is sure to find success in whatever area your business is in. If you have any questions, comments or you’d simply like to learn more about what the SmartHub has to offer, then please reach out to us via Facebook or you can come and have a tour of the SmartHub’s coworking space at Customs House 208 Quay Street, Rockhampton.

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