Teaming is the most fundamentally sound concept available to help businesses grow today. It enables organizations to adapt to new rules of play brought on by a changing economic landscape, maximize productivity, use time more efficiently, and leverage the positive attitudes and unique abilities of each team member.
It is important to note here that “teaming” is a verb. We’re not simply talking about telling a group of people to work together. Teaming is an action; it constantly generates movement and energy within your organization.
And the benefits of teaming are clear. According to a survey from the GAMA Foundation for Education and Research (ed. note: John Bucsek is vice chairman of the GAMA Foundation), the four most rewarding aspects of working on a team are:
- Increased productivity
- Increased financial gain
- The ability to focus on personal strengths
How Exactly Does Teaming Make Your Organization Stronger?
In that same GAMA survey, teaming participants were asked to rank the areas in which they felt the implementation of teaming enabled their own success as well as the success of the organization. Top responses included service to clients, clarity and quality of team goals/team strategy, and clarity of individual roles and responsibilities.
Teaming increases productivity in an organization in multiple ways. First, it maximizes available time by assigning roles and responsibilities to the individuals with the unique abilities to do the job. Second, it drives employee satisfaction, which is key to company success. Teaming also supports initiatives to build more diverse workplaces and increase capacity, both of which boost productivity even further.
1. Assigning the Right Roles to the Right People
We know the No. 1 challenge for many companies is expanding without adding more hours to everyone’s workday. While all leaders want to grow their companies, many don’t know how to do that effectively. To meet the needs of the growing business and adhere to budgetary constraints, overtime often becomes the norm.
We’ve been there ourselves — and when we put teaming into place in our organization, we better understood how to maximize time. With clear team goals and fully defined roles and responsibilities, each team member can make the best use of their time, thereby increasing overall productivity. Increasing productivity allows you to be more efficient and more effective for your clients, which in turn leads to success for your business.
Of course, time management is key to ensuring team members effectively shoulder their responsibilities. In our organization, we use a model week. It is basically a calendar that allots time blocks for specific tasks. While it may seem elementary — a simple tool for organization — we’ve found it to be useful in ensuring each team member is contributing to the team as needed.
2. Cultivating Satisfaction
Teaming also allows for an outcome that does not necessarily show up as a quantifiable result: a sense of trust and accountability that increases employee satisfaction. And that satisfaction, or happiness, is an essential element of successful companies.
Teaming builds trust among team members because each person knows their colleagues will fulfill their individual responsibilities so the team can continue to move toward its goals. On high-performance teams, people have faith in one another’s character and competence. Furthermore, when conflicts do arise, team members assume positive intent and take steps to productively resolve the misunderstanding or disagreement.
New research in the field of positive psychology has shown the long-held belief that hard work leads to success and happiness is backward. Happiness is not the result of hard work; it is the driver of it. If your team members are happy, you will see that reflected in the bottom line of the business.
We allocate our motivational energy efficiently for this reason: In a typical business setting, roughly 10 percent of team members are internally driven and don’t need external motivation. The bottom 10 percent are impossible to motivate no matter what you do. The remaining 80 percent need to be proactively motivated.
We focus our energies on the team members we can impact. Trust and communication play important roles in these efforts. If we can show employees the personal and financial rewards their efforts will bring — and if we continually communicate on their progress and the progress of the entire firm — people’s enthusiasm will increase, and so will productivity.
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3. Supporting Diversity
Teaming is appealing to people of various age groups and backgrounds, which makes it a powerful tool for attracting and retaining diverse talent. As diversity increase in your organization, so will your client base: Your reach will expand because you’ll be better able to connect with people from different demographics.
Teaming’s broad appeal makes it particularly important at this moment in time, as so many baby boomers are starting to retire. Companies need to increasingly turn to younger workers to staff their organizations, and teaming can help bring those talented employees in the door. Millennials and Gen. Z-ers are best known for their demand for flexibility, but they also want workplaces where diversity is welcomed, ideas are respected, and deeper connections can be made. Teaming makes these things possible, encouraging younger workers to join your company and stay for the long haul.
4. Increasing Capacity
While basic infrastructure such as computing, network services, facilities, and business continuity certainly contribute to capacity levels, the greatest challenge to unleashing capacity comes from the human capital of an organization. For a company to reach its desired goals, it needs to manage talent and resources effectively.
Teaming not only helps companies that have reached capacity, but it also helps them move beyond their previous capacity limits. Specialized team members can have a tremendous impact on a business in terms of expanding products, services, and reach. With a wide range of skilled team players in your company, you can increase your business in ways you never thought possible before.
The Chemistry of Team Building
The goal of teaming is to develop employees with unique abilities to help your organization maximize time, efficiently provide the best experience possible for clients, and expand your business beyond its current capacity. It is about developing players who know they did their very best to reach their full potential.
Chemistry is all about relationships. It is the attachment people develop for one another as they work together day in and day out. You’ve most likely heard references, in business and in sports, to failures attributed to a lack of team chemistry. The lesson here is that chemistry can exist no matter how different each member is, for the best teams are blends of individuals with diverse backgrounds who combine their unique abilities and ways of thinking to work together for a common goal.
When looking for players for your team, don’t just focus on talent. Instead, look for people who complement your team’s existing abilities while bringing new skill sets of their own. Remember, all-star teams may have occasional wins, but they do not always afford the best opportunities for higher levels of achievement. Many business leaders feel more comfortable hiring people just like them, but putting a team of similarly talented individuals into the field of play can be detrimental to your goals.
In business, and especially in a sales organization, team leaders must think differently. They must recognize their teams need to have specialized roles for diversity of thought. Why? Because a business must be able to work with people from different age groups and demographic backgrounds. Plus, if we all always agree, then only one of us is needed.
John F. Bucsek and Bellaria Jimenez are certified financial planners and the coauthors of The Team Game: How Your Business Can Dominate Year After Year.