Success is never a one-man show. A single person doesn’t own a successful outcome; it is earned alongside a team. While the last few years have been some of the most challenging times for businesses, it’s also shown us that the opportunities for individuals to come together and shine are plentiful.
Making the shift from a singular approach to a collaborative mindset can have outsized impacts in the current climate. Your people are core to the success of any venture. But while we often dissect the traits of great leaders, we neglect to think about it from a team’s perspective.
Building a team demands a significant investment of time and resources. We’ll be breaking down the framework of teamwork and success at this year’s Made Extraordinary Summit. Personally, I’ve spent a good amount of time scaling teams throughout my career. The more experience I gather, the more I see the same patterns. I think successful teams — whether in tech, sales, marketing, or product development — all vary greatly in their approaches. There are diverse communication and work styles, but patterns tend to emerge.
For me, these are the four driving forces of great teams:
They bring in-depth expertise to the table
Being an expert in something teaches you how to go deep. And what happens when you put these experts all in one team? The skills of each individual can be leveraged to reach a common goal. You become the team that is the go-to for a particular solution, platform, or approach. You become the team that innovates, reimagines, and solves the toughest problems. The value an expert team brings to the table is limitless.
A great way to encourage in-depth expertise and knowledge-share is to create pockets for exploration and research in the working day. Remember, not everything needs to be justified and tied to ROI. In giving team members this space and time, out-of-box ideas, creativity, and innovation will naturally surface. Not only will this exercise help teams retain top talent, but you’ll find yourself with a diverse skill set that can tackle virtually any problem.
They know process has its place
When companies grow rapidly, it is tempting to solve problems with processes. And it is fine to resolve problems this way from time to time. But we need to resist developing processes too quickly. Process has its place. But process for the sake of it will create dead ends and roadblocks, stifle creativity and lead to poor outcomes.
It is easy to accumulate too much process — it is a reassuring mechanism in a fast-paced environment. But it can slow things down and stop people from using their better judgement. And this is where great teams come in. Teams that are great at what they do don’t require as much process as others to get the job done.
Am I against process? No – quite the opposite. In our line of work, we’re often building tools for effective processes. Great teams recognise some process is good, and too much is bad – and know how to find this balance. They focus on getting to the desired outcome and use common sense to get there. They take an agile approach based on the information available and determine the best next step.
They make feedback work for them
Great teams don’t wait to receive feedback; they seek it out. They actively look for experts that can communicate well and teach. The more often they ask the question, the better they will get. The more often they act on feedback given, the more opportunities there are to turn something good into something rather extraordinary.
This also applies to feedback that might sting a little. There is a tendency to shy away from tough feedback and let the memory of it recede. Great teams are disciplined about doing something with all feedback, making everything a constructive experience.
They bring ideas to life on paper and in-person
The best teams I have worked with also tend to be great communicators. In writing, presentations, podcasts, and other forms – they can make their voices heard and articulate their ideas clearly. And it is the flow of ideas that is so vital here. Our work is never done — as businesses, teams and individuals; we are all on a continuous journey of improvement. So, the more easily we can make ideas flow – the better we become.
It often starts with 1:1 communication between team members and then amongst the entire team. We are all different – so make yourself heard in the most comfortable way to you and be cognisant of others in your team. No two communication approaches are the same. Remember that great communication helps ideas and feedback flow, which allows teams to better operate as a unit.
Driving towards successful outcomes hinges on your people — ensuring everyone is working together with trust and camaraderie. These things don’t happen overnight, but they are vital. And it starts with a foundation of communication and collaboration.