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The 4 Keys to a Winning Team

Even if you aren't into sports, it's nearly impossible to avoid being part of a team. You're part of a team at work, in your marriage, when you're planning a party - many of the smallest and most significant moments of our lives are driven by teamwork, including those at work which is probably why we see (and read) so many articles on how to make your team efficient.

In the Forbes article, 4 Things You Need to Know About Working With Teams, they discussed team's role in keeping up with our fast-changing world and helping to keep companies competitive.

"Companies -- and the people who run them -- must adapt to change by finding new ways of working for which there are no blueprints. And they must do so together. Nothing gets accomplished as effectively or as efficiently as it goes through a team."

In the spirit of strong teams, here are the four things discussed in the Forbes article to keep in mind when putting together teams, when evaluating your team's performance, and as a teammate.

1. The Team's Decision is More Accurate Than Your Choice

Remember, good teams, are made up of people that don't agree with everything. "Team decisions are more accurate than any single decision made by an individual. When there's confrontation or differences of opinion within a team, members don't typically ask dissenters to change their opinions. Instead, the team is forced to work through the problem, thereby discovering new solutions previously unforeseen. Strangely, the best way to encourage "smart" team thinking is to promote individualism."

I recently listened to a podcast that talked about this same concept. The guest said that he could tell how good a team is by sitting in on a meeting. During the meeting, there should be pushback and disagreements, but when they leave the meeting, it should seem like nothing happened. That is because the decisions are more important than you and when you respect everyone on your team, you don't mind when the choices don't align with your original opinion.

2. Team Potential Depends Upon the Leader's Maturity

How the team performs highly depends on the leader. "Leaders fall into one of two roles within a team. They fill a top-down role where they delegate, instruct and outline rules and boundaries, or, they fill a peer role where they work side-by-side with fellow teammates."

The key is that the leader must be aware enough to adapt their leadership style to best align with the situation they are in and with the people they are interacting.

3. What's Not Said is Just as Important as What Is

This key is all about being aware of the social dynamics that all teams have. It's easy to get sidetracked and lose focus - just think about your last team meeting; "agendas fall off topic, egos get in the way, sidebar conversations create new agendas, and all of a sudden nothing gets accomplished." It's normal, but it's important to have individuals, maybe even a third party, who can identify those moments, speak up, and drive the team back to the goal.

4. The Message Sent Isn't Always the Message Received

The more we use virtual and electronic forms of communication, the more import it will be to make sure messages are interpreted correctly. In the blog, he relates our misinterpretation to "the game of telephone that we all failed in kindergarten." Listen to the message then pass the message onto the next person - it seems like a simple communication exercise, but it fails because we all interpret things differently.

"Unfortunately, the same phenomenon occurs in business everyday. We assume that the message sent over email will be the message received, but without precise language, that message falls prey to interpretation which leads to duplicative efforts, excess costs and wasted time. Now, scale this to a team–or a large company–where people are geographically dispersed all over the globe, and you understand why organizational chaos exists. Teams require consistent communication and (role) clarity to get ahead. Without clarity, it's easy for members to play the blame game ("That wasn't my job") and without communication, the ball gets dropped."

Teams are one of the most important things (professionally and personally), and they come with challenges. Remember these four keys to keep your crew winning!

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Sydney Nordquist

Not to mention refreshing, positive and downright invigorating. Should we expect anything less from a personality that absolutely bubbles…

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