Team Building – Why Is It Important For Organisations?

Despite the fact numerous team building books are published every year, building strong teams continues to be one of the major concerns of all the organisations. Every year organizations spend several thousands inviting resources and experts in this field to train their workforce to strengthen the team spirit within the organisation. If this is your concern too, then you are not alone.

When you are working on your skills and goals for creating exceptional teams either by deriving the wisdom from team building books or by attending relevant seminars, you should focus on creating a positive work culture. The question however is why should organisations focus on this factor and on creating a positive work culture when they are actually supposed to be focusing on production, marketing and sales?

The answer is very simple businesses processes such as production, marketing and sales do not happen by themselves but they are outcomes of people’s efforts. Inevitably, we have groups of people working on these processes. If these people do not work united as a team then they would be undoing each other’s efforts and thereby becoming a self-defeating group.

Team building should therefore be the primary focus of organisations. Further goals could be achieved only after this primary goal is realised and until then, no organisation could actually achieve optimal performance levels.

Thankfully today we have access to numerous studies that help managers and team leaders with insights on building teams. Many team building books that elaborately discuss this topic come as resource manuals for the leaders. So if you are struggling to create a positive work culture or build strong teams, you need not despair because you will never run short of resources. You will find all the resources you need online as well as offline.

Once you manage to build a strong team, all the other goals that directly affect the bottom line of your business could be achieved more easily. You will also have a more positive profit-and-loss graph once you have a strong team. When your team is working in tandem operating with a single goal in mind, you can achieve any goal, including the most challenging goals.

It is not without reason companies invest heavily on team building and on creating a positive work culture. You just need to imitate the top organisations in any industry on this goal of building a healthy team and a positive work culture.

Best 6 Qualities Of A Strong Development Team

Software development team is a mixture of various professionals such as architects, developers, project managers, testers, production support, senior developers, etc. It is essential to have a right mix of the above roles in a software development team for the success of the organization. Most people lack this magnificent combination in the software development team and which leads to failure of the team. It is enjoyable, dynamic and taxing to be part of great teams. The intensity is viral and catches fire to the entire organization.

Let’s Consider The Factors Needed For Forming A Great And Successful Team.

1. Great Culture

It is essential to have a good culture to form a high development team. Perception of the team should be such that the there should be a balance between the one’s weakness and strengths. For example, if a team member has a flaw in one area such as in technical, communication or experience and knowledge the other team members should support the fault of the other team members. Culture should be dynamic and empathetic towards the other team members. Culture in the team must maintain a positive attitude, and contrary culture should be brought to zero in the organization. Having positive culture in the organization works excellent in forming tremendous and successful groups. For example, there must be positive and healthy competition among the team members instead of having jealousy and fear of backstabbing. This positive culture not only enhances the creative learning and dynamics but also increases the work output in a significant and profound way.

2. Goals

The second most essential ingredients for successful software development team are setting goals for each member of the group. The purpose should outline each member’s professional and individual goals mapped to the team goals and thus the goals and objectives of the organization. Setting goals are important because to meet the target and to achieve the creation of software products or software services. The goals that we set must be achievable and challenging. The goals should not be in such a way that only project managers are responsible for achieving the targets instead everyone in the team must be accountable for meeting their individual goals and team goals, and thus the purposes of the organization.

3. Great Communications

The software development team must have clear and candid communications among the group not only in technical skills but also skills like soft skills and leadership skills. It is essential that everyone in the organization behaves as a leader and a good team player. Every team members must understand the functional and business aspect of the software product or software services. It is essential that the leaders in the teams are responsible for effective and efficient communication to the business aspect of the software requirements are communicated correctly among the team members in the form of technical know-how and skills required to build the software. Architects and Project Managers must also have communication skills to make the junior members of the team to understand how, why, the software is required.

4. Roles and Responsibility

It is essential that each member of the software development team understand their individual and group making roles and responsibility. Many times the roles and responsibility are communicated when the new person joins the team, by the leaders of the group. Roles and accountability must be a written document which must be clear and understood by the each of the team members. The characters and responsibility in the team must be outlined in the statement of work (SOW) before commencing any software development work. This must be understood and agreed by the client as well. Roles and responsibility must be as transparent as possible to avoid misunderstanding and frustration later during the software development processes.

5. Collaboration

Fifth most crucial factor for a successful software development team is collaboration among the team members. Each team members must understand and trust each other. This does not only bring in positive culture but also responsibility and accountability. As each member does their work, they must even imagine that the other teammates would do their job. For example, if there is a complex project than each member must collaborate with each other in doing their module and combine and integrate these modules in creating a great software product. To make a great software product each member’s contribution and collaboration is most important, and highlight for a great software product is how each member works closely with each other.

6. Independence

Sixth most essential traits for successful software development team are each team member’s independence in working to make the software product. It is seen how each member collaborates. It is essential once the work is broken down and communicated to each member, it must be left to the discretion of the individual on how he/she codes and how he/she makes the code work. There must be independence for each of the teams to decide the nuances of the systems. However, one must remember that each member’s systems must at the end of the individual codes to integrate to make a significant software product. For creativity to develop the independence of every individual is most important.

Conclusion

To develop a winning team, you need the above-listed characteristic. Also, it is essential to do the review of the team and get the feedback from all the team members. It is required to feel the pulse of the team. Building a great and successful team is not only challenging but is difficult too. You need correct ingredients and mix for a winning team. Making a great and successful team is possible.

Five Things You Are Messing Up in Team Building

There are a number of reasons why nearly every organization encourages teamwork. Research has proven that team building activities offer a good platform for companies to enhance high-impact learning, improve communication, boost employee morale and enhance overall productivity. Workers who embrace teamwork usually benefit by enjoying a sense of satisfaction in functioning a single unit to complete potentially challenging organizational tasks. What’s more, team building gives employees an opportunity to go back to the office with the new skill set and feeling reinvigorated as well.

It is also critical to mention that researchers have proven that having a strong team can potentially result in major gains for both small and established businesses. These long-term gains may include an organization’s ability to maximize profitability by enabling individual employees to better combine their skills to achieve improved results, being able to respond reasonably quickly to rapid structural changes, meeting cross-functional challenges. Team building provides an ideal chance for teams to participate together in a world where each one begins with an equal amount of knowledge about a given task. Equally, team building allows workers to become mission-oriented, a phenomenon that makes them achieve ideal results with minimum resources.

Most organizations will confirm to you that team building is always a daunting task to accomplish. It not only requires an experienced managerial team but dedication, sacrifices, time and energy. Even some of the best companies out there periodically make mistakes when dealing with people. In fact, it is quite common to find companies treating employees like kids and then ask why such workers so frequently fail to fulfil their potentials. What’s more, a significant number of organizations usually invest untold energy and massive resources in actions which ensure workers are unhappy! It is important for organizations to find effective ways of exhausting all the available strengths and abilities of people they employ.

Today in this post, we want to discuss in excruciating details, the five things organizations usually mess up in team building. Read on and enhance your knowledge.

5. Is your organization lacking leadership?

Quite often, discussions about team building revolve around effective communication, sharing a common goal and solving complex business problems. Even though these three factors are absolutely essential, one key factor which is often ignored is leadership! To come up with a strong and successful team, your employees must trust your judgment because this is when they will work efficiently even when you are not available. Of course, this doesn’t imply that you’ll have to be authoritative, instead, focus on fostering trust through humility, transparency, accountability, and honesty. If you didn’t know, it is too easy to dodge responsibility in team settings because you can easily hide in your sea of colleagues. This is where a leader comes in. In organizational settings, true leaders usually take full responsibility for a group’s final results. This means that the leader will be highly motivated to keep members accountable for their every action.

4. Neglecting your workers’ input.

This is a huge mistake a number of organizations do. Apparently, firms must connect team building with critical business drivers. Equally, you must set clear and achievable goals. However, organizations must understand that teams consist of human beings who have personal and different development needs which when fulfilled can potentially enhance the overall efficiency. Research has shown that focusing on the individual needs of a team strengthens your organization as a unit. On the other hand, putting much emphasis on the objectives of your business will only lead to short-lived benefits but does not foster sustainable development due to ineffective teamwork.

3. Unrealistic organizational objectives.

To create a strong and focused team, you must first set clear goals and share with them your objectives. Explain to your team members what you expect of them. Many businesses usually fail to set realistic goals thus leaving employees figuring out the likely outcomes. Set your goals according to your potential. Carry out an analysis of your available resources, assess the ability of your staff and set clear and achievable goals. To create a functional and reliable team, you must set clear goals and inform your employees about those goals. When every worker knows what is expected of her/him, teamwork becomes a success!

2. Failing to seek the opinions of your employees.

The key to team building is to understand and embrace this term: None of us is as smart as all of us’. Teams enable individuals to achieve things far much beyond every member’s individual potential. Bring every team member on board by asking for their ideas, opinions and suggestions. Equally, you should be able to implement those continuous improvement suggestions and empower them as well. Finally, you must provide relevant feedbacks regarding whether those ideas were implemented or rejected. Always make decisions after asking your team members for their input.

1. Failing to celebrate successes while acknowledging failures.

Recognizing and celebrating your business successes and milestones not only brings your team together but allows your employees to realize that people can achieve great things by working as a team. Learn to congratulate a team member who does something extraordinary. This helps members to feel visible and loved and acknowledge that their contribution is appreciated. On the other hand, if your team fails, come together and direct your thoughts and efforts at solving the problem. Remain positive and never turn your team discussion into a blame game. If you want your team building journey to become successful, you must avoid these five things at all cost.

Leader’s Lead – Slacker’s Don’t

When I was in the Army, I was an officer assigned to the S-3 section of our Cavalry Squadron. S-3 is the “Planning and Operations” section of everything going on in the Squadron. We planned almost everything – from flag details to battle plans. I was the assistant S-3 and a Major was assigned as our OIC.

Well, a new Major was assigned to be the OIC of this unit. It was my job to bring him up to speed on everything going on. As I was doing this, he began to belittle all of the plans which were well underway. He was criticizing several of the plans (which were approved by the Squadron Commander as well). That was “key #1” that there were going to be problems.

About six months into his “command,” I noticed that he would try to ride the high points, making sure he was observed as being in charge. But when it came to the late nights prior to a major report or operations order to be ready, he was nowhere to be seen. Even during maneuvers, he would have an excuse to not spend as much time out in the mud with everyone else.

One day, I guess it was showing on my face. A fellow officer came by my desk and told me, flat-out, that everyone (meaning the command staff and line officers) knew that “I was the one actually running the S-3 shop” and to “keep my head up – I had their support.” That made me feel a little better, knowing others were seeing what I was observing as well.

How does that help YOU?

In your business, if you are the “leader” – then you need to be present when everything is getting dirty. When your subordinates are in the middle of a major project for your “team” – YOU need to be involved as well.

Next, do not nit-pick at the plans that are already underway. If you need to give additional guidance, do so. But do not just throw out all the plans, especially the ones that are underway in their implementation! If you were not there to “make the call” when it was needed, support your supervisors that had to make the call in your absence.

Finally, never, never, NEVER accept the praise and accolades for a job well done. You must, at all times, praise your team and give your team credit for every win. EVERY WIN! Yes, you may have jumped in and saved the day… but the credit for the win goes to the TEAM. Every single time!

If there is any blame for a poorly performed task or job, never, never, NEVER put the blame on the team (and especially never point fingers at a member of the team) or a supervisor under you. You, as the leader of the team, should accept total responsibility for every failed task concerning your team. Every single one!

“Well, that sounds unreasonable! I should not have to accept responsibility for something when somebody else clearly failed to do their job!”

“YES, you should!”

Most people will know that it is not your fault. But by you standing up and taking responsibility for the poor performance of “your team,” your credibility will rise for those who see it and your team will begin to develop more loyalty towards you! By you running interference for your team, they will begin to run interference for you, but doing a better job.

This stuff really works! What I am sharing with you takes some people years to figure out.

Why does this work?

Because it is called “being a leader.” Do not fall into the category of leaders that just want the recognition and to have people see them give orders. Do not fall for the trap of “I tell people what to do – and they do it.”

Instead, work with your team. Become another member of the team. Someone they can count on to make the “right decision at the right time.” Someone they know will have their back if things do not work out. Someone they can look at and try to emulate.

Leader’s Lead – Slacker’s Don’t!

Don’t be a slacker!

5 Ideas for Team Building and Boosting Morale in Your Company

Do you love what you do and really appreciate the people that you do it with, but sometimes struggle with lack of teamwork and overall employee morale? This is a common issue in companies and the good news is that there are some things that you can do to help improve teamwork and morale. Many times in our work lives it seems like we are so busy already that you do not have time to put one more thing on your plate. But one thing to remember is that lack of teamwork and morale is an indication of your culture. And it will not likely improve unless a plan and action is put into place. So since this is so important in the growth and success of your company. I encourage you to make time to focus on your culture. Below are five ideas to help make improvements.

1. Training and education. Believe it or not, most employees want to learn, grow and contribute more to their company. Sometimes, when you have an employee that doesn’t seem to be engaged in their work, it could be that they might feel like their work isn’t meaningful or perhaps they feel that they are not contributing to the overall success of the company. One way to help them feel more important is by investing in them and their future. One of the best things I have done for my team is to bring in trainer every year to train, educate and inspire. An unanticipated result of this training was that my team became more team minded and more loyal to our company. I was touched by how appreciative they were that we cared enough about them to invest in them and their future. Not sure what to train or educate in? Find out what worries them or what stresses them. It doesn’t have to even be related to their work, perhaps they are worried about finances, bring in a speaker to teach money management. What I have found is that if people can let go of some of the external stresses outside of work, they become more focused on their work. Personal growth oftentimes leads to professional growth.

2. Do you have a corporate mission, vision, value and culture statement? If you don’t, you may want to consider having a corporate retreat and letting your employees help you craft them. They live and work in your corporate culture and in reality, they are the corporate culture. You might be a little hesitant, but will likely be pleasantly surprised at the amount of insight they bring to creating your company’s mission, vision and values. In creating these things together, they will feel an important part of the foundation of your company and this will likely improve morale and build a more loyal workforce.

3. Empower your employees to make improvements and necessary changes. Many times, if you have problems, issues or simply room for improvement, your employees have great ideas to make it better. In your company, do they have a way to make suggestions or improvements? Are their ideas seriously considered? If not, you might want to find a way to incorporate it into your operations. Take time to ask your employees what could be better, ask them if they have ideas on how to improve operations or processes. There are some simple ways to do this. It could be as simple as a rounding process where you regularly ask them or you could create an employee suggestion box. Or maybe it would work best for your company to dedicate time during a staff meeting to discuss. Be careful not to be defensive and strike down ideas too quickly. One important thing I have learned over the years is that when an employee brings me an issue, they know that I expect that they also provide an idea for improvements too. Oftentimes, the initial idea is not necessarily the best idea, but it generates great conversation and oftentimes leads you to a good course of action.

4. Don’t be afraid to have fun at work. Find reasons to celebrate and be together. Make it a habit to celebrate birthdays, important milestones and accomplishments. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Have a potluck or have everyone pitch in for take out. The important part is that everyone get together and recognize each person’s contributions and accomplishments. What you want is to create a culture where everyone feels like family. Imagine letting someone in your family’s birthday go by without acknowledging it, you wouldn’t do that. Well, you shouldn’t do that at work either. You will likely find that treating co-workers and employees like family will make them want to perform better and contribute to a better team environment.

5. Annual Celebration with team building events. Find a good time of the year, preferably around the same time each year, to celebrate your employees, your company accomplishments and show appreciation. Consider creating a venue by renting tables, tents and chairs. Invite family and promote fun and team building. Party rental items such as inflatable bounce houses or inflatable obstacle course rentals offer employees a chance to unwind, but still building teamwork. Fun activities help relieve stress, which lead to a more relaxed and more productive workforce. I encourage you to make it a big event. Consider inflatable rentals and team building activities. One of the biggest benefits of having a big event is that employees get to show off their strengths that they may not go use in the workplace. You may see hidden leadership and problem solving skills emerge.

How To Lead A More Effective Team By Disagreeing

It’s great when people agree with you, isn’t it? It’s a wonderful validation – of your thoughts, your ideas… of you. It makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Yes, it’s great when people agree with you.

Except it doesn’t move the needle. Especially when the agreement comes too early.

There’s a great scene in the old TV series The West Wing. Leo McGarry is the Chief of Staff to liberal Democratic president Jed Bartlet. In this scene, Leo is offering a job to wickedly smart conservative Republican Ainsley Hayes. Ainsley is confused as to why a liberal president would want a conservative Republican working in the White House. Leo then says a line that I think should be committed to memory by every leader at every level:

“The president likes smart people who disagree with him.”

If you’re a leader, substitute your name for “the president” (unless you happen to be the president, in which case you should probably still substitute your name, because referring to yourself by your title is stupid and pretentious). Let’s just make it simple. Here’s the new sentence:

“I like smart people who disagree with me.”

I want you to make that one of your primary leadership mantras. “I like smart people who disagree with me.”

If you want to build your muscles, you do resistance training. The resistance can be in the form of weights, elastic bands, or your own body (for example, when doing pushups and pull-ups). Resistance makes muscles stronger.

Even the best ideas benefit from resistance. This resistance comes in the form of pushback by a smart person. Even if the smart person is just playing devil’s advocate, the challenge serves a purpose. When an idea is challenged, one of three things will happen:

The idea will be reinforced.
The idea will be reevaluated.
The idea will be abandoned.

Any of these three is preferable to the idea being blindly accepted by a team that’s either too intimidated to question, or too disengaged to care.

When an idea is challenged, it is examined. This examination will find one of three things about the idea, which correspond to the list above:

The idea is sound.
The idea is flawed but can be improved/fixed.
The idea is flawed, and cannot be improved. (Even in this case, though, the “bad” idea could be the spark that leads to the “good” idea.)
Agreement is a good thing, but not when it’s automatic; not when it’s a rubber stamp.
Agreement is a good thing when it comes at the end of smart debate. Agreement is a good thing when it rises out of disagreement.

That’s why, as a leader, you should learn to like smart people who disagree with you.