Building Successful Teams

Posted on 09/01/2006 in Team Selling

"The way a team plays as a whole determines its success.  You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.” - Babe Ruth

Businesses today rely more and more on projects and tasks managed by teams, including the use of sales teams to manage and grow key accounts.  Successful development and leadership of teams has become an increasingly important function.  Teams are required to react quickly to frequent changes and demands, a far more difficult challenge for a team to react to then for an individual. 

A Group Is Not a Team

You cannot simply put a group of people together and call them a team.  Successful team formation and development requires skills, selection of the right people, effort by the entire team, and effective leadership.    

Top Five Reasons Why Some Teams Fail

Working on teams can be both a positive and a negative experience. Successful teams share a common vision and respect for each other.  This supportive team "culture” contributes to the success or failure of the team.  At its best, there is no question that teamwork and collaboration can generate results that are superior to individual work. 

On the other hand, nothing is more frustrating than participating on a team that has been a waste of time and resources. 

So what makes some teams fail?  Teams fail as result of several reasons, notably:


1.  Poor communication
2.  A lack of team diversity
3.  A lack of trust
4.  Unclear or unestablished goals
5.  A failure to manage the stages of team development

Team Diagnosis - Building a High Performance Team

Use the reasons that teams fail as a diagnostic tool to form and sustain a high performance team.  For example:


How can we improve our ability to communicate with each other? This can include how decisions are made, ground rules for participation, and so on.

Does our team utilize diversity to its fullest potential? In other words, who should be on the team? What strengths does each team member bring to the team?

What is the level of trust? Perhaps more than any other factor, the presence or absence of trust can have enormous implications for the team as a whole. How can we establish or rebuild trust?

Are the goals and purpose of the team clear? Do we share common goals? Open and clear communication of goals and objectives, roles and responsibilities, procedures and systems will determine the success or failure of the team.

All teams progress through four stages of team development: Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing.  The "Storming Stage,” when conflict arises on the team, is a moment of truth. If conflict arises on the team, how will you resolve it as a team?  Successful teams resolve conflict, whereas average teams suppress conflict or ignore it.

Where Do You Go From Here

Please visit us on the web to learn more about our Team Selling Workshop.   We also offer Team Building Workshops if you are interested in building a multi-functional team, not just a sales team.  If you have a question or want to discuss the subject of team development in more detail, please call or send us an email.