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Building Workplace Teams for Top Performance and Success

Aug 29, 2008
Is your workplace built for top performance and success? Knowing how to build carefully balanced workplace teams is the key to a powerful organization. This article will provide you with information that can help you put the right team leader in charge of the right group of people so that they can achieve the balance, chemistry and vision needed to succeed.

In the race to lure talent to our organizations and make ourselves more competitive in the global marketplace, we need to make sure we maintain a careful balance in our teams. Anyone who believes that star talent alone will lift an organization to top performance need only look to the Olympics, where teams have failed to bring home the gold in recent years. This year, our country sent a brand-new Dream Team to Beijing - some are calling it the Redeem Team, on a mission to redeem the U.S. reputation as a basketball powerhouse.

Top basketball players competed in the 2004 Olympics and even in the 2006 World Games, but the teams did not appear. A key ingredient was missing: the chemistry that smoothly blends a group of stars into a unified whole. Uneven team play by superstars led U.S. planners to build a foundation for 2008 that would send an actual team to the Olympics. The formula included rounding up the superstars (NBA elite), requiring them to play together in early qualifying matches, and, finally, making sure both defenders and shooters were part of the mix.

This is a simple formula and a no-brainer for a coach or team leader. And yet the Olympian shortcomings of the Dream Teams are but one example of how heads of organizations repeat the same mistakes when seeking the success that top team performance leads to. Instead of throwing money at the problem, they throw talent at it. And they quickly discover that a bunch of talented people is just a bunch of talented people. Players and workers need a reason for being and a plan for working together to have the beginnings of a team.

Let's look at some of the key ingredients that go into making up a team:

- Balance, of the kind that Coach Mike Krzyzewski attempted to bring to this year's Dream Team redeemers

- Vision, or a common focus

- Chemistry that allows team players to make progress and reach their goals because they believe in the mission and respect their teammates

Let's pretend we are advising a team leader who needs to improve the productivity of a group of talented people. Each one performs well individually, but they do not function well together. Squabbles push them off track, and meetings reveal disagreement on even the fundamental issue of how to work together. The group must complete a project that requires detailed focus and reaching regular goals along the path to completion. After meeting for several months, team members have not produced anything useful.

Using the example of this year's Dream Team, we will help the team leader assemble and shape the group into something more than just a group of individuals.

First, we will find the balance. After assembling our team, we will share the vision. And bow that the team knows what it is supposed to do, we will mix carefully for good chemistry.
About the Author
Jim Sirbasku is co-founder and CEO of Profiles International, a leading provider of human resource management solutions and employment assessments for businesses worldwide. For more information, download the entire building workplace teams for top performance and success guide.
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