I’ve had the opportunity to work at small and large companies over the course of my career. There is one constant that remains. When you have good people on your team that trust and support each other and work towards common goals – let’s call it a “dream team” – you realize the miracles you can make happen in business. Egos get put aside, competition goes by the wayside and this team will pick up any piece of anybody else’s puzzle and help put it together, when needed.
Keys to Managing a Dream Team:
1. Ongoing Communication – meetings, phone calls, text messages, emails – whatever works best…. options are vast but, come up with strong, consistent communication with your team to keep moral high and promote an ongoing team vibe. It’s too easy to fall back on non-visual communication like text and email when problems arise to avoid confrontation. Just remember there’s no replacement for face-to-face discussions so body language and intensions are fully understood.
2. Complimentary Skill Sets and Team Identity – not everyone is good at every business function – finance is my Achilles heel but I solve that by surrounding myself with the best finance experts to fill in the gap. Building a team that compliments skillsets and balances strengths and weaknesses allows others to learn from one another and grow professionally. Helping team members have an identity and understand their role and mutual accountability to one another fosters teamwork.
3. Structured Project Management – when everyone knows what has to be done, lists of tasks get created and priorities set, there is no confusion – things get done.
4. Diligent Follow-Ups – from internal documenting of meetings to external customer feedback loops after demos, discussions, etc. — both are equally important for credibility and clarity.
5. Periodic Status Reports – after trips, events or at key intervals (monthly, quarterly, etc.), set a goal to prepare a report and give it to your team so all parties stay up-to-date on activities. When the left hand knows what the right hand is doing, it creates even more of a collaborative atmosphere.
6. Strong Leadership and Support – things happen in business, timelines shift and more – when mistakes do happen or a curve ball gets thrown into the mix, a President, Director or Manager’s support and understanding can be the difference between blowups, people leaving or deliverables not being met.
7. Keep a Finger on the Pulse – get to know and watch your team, what are their passions in life, how do they handle stress, are they happy and healthy? Keeping this pulse and recognizing changes will allow you to be proactive in making small adjustments that bring big value.
I believe most people want to be a part of something good. They want to work in happy, productive environments with people they like. However, to make that dream come true, I’ve seen very few managers (Presidents included) do the complete list consistently. Good communication starts from the top down.
NOTE TO SELF: List above does not = perfect dream team. However, it can lead to a very productive group of people!