Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Mackay: Teamwork key in today's business world

by Harvey Mackay - Jul. 26, 2010 12:00 AM

A reader recently wrote to me about a column I penned several years ago: the ABCs of selling. She told me how often she used it and shared it with her colleagues.

Then she challenged me to come up with the ABCs of team-building, a topic that seems particularly popular in this era of reorganizations, layoffs and downsizing. The following concepts are what I consider the fundamentals of team-building:

A is for action. No team can function without a plan of action, even when the final outcome is to take no action at all.

B is for brainpower. If two heads are better than one, I would submit that a cohesive, well-assembled team should have enough brainpower to attack any project.

C is for cooperation and communication. Team members need to cooperate, even if they don't necessarily agree. Clear communication is the roadmap to cooperation.

D is for dedication. As members of a team, you must be dedicated to the goals of the team, or you are on the wrong team.

E is for ears. Use your ears more than your mouth because listening skills are critical for team success.

F is for fun. Work should be fun, and working together is usually a lot more fun than working alone.

G is for the group effort. The motto needs to be "all for one and one for all" in order to be a real team.

H is for help. Ask for it if you need it, and offer it if someone else needs yours.

I is for the ideas that come from brainstorming and picking each others' brains. Let the ideas flow and then choose those that hold the most potential.

J is for juggling. Combining all the company's needs and desired results will often require a juggling act, but a competent team will be able to achieve that balance.

K is for kinetic - energetic, dynamic team members keep things moving.

L is for leadership. Every team needs a leader, and every leader needs to be able to depend on the team.

M is for motivation. Nothing motivates a team like trust placed in them by management to solve a problem.

N is for negotiate. Give and take is as important within a team as it is with outside clients.

O is for open mind. Team members need to be open to options they may not have considered and willing to expand their perspectives to find the best answers.

P is for planning. A plan doesn't need to be rigid to be effective, but it must provide enough direction to keep the team on course.

Q is for questions. Asking questions is the best path to finding solutions. Don't be afraid of asking any question. If you don't understand something, chances are others don't either.

R is for results. The whole point of forming a team is to achieve results. The only variation on that theme is that the results may not be what had been originally anticipated.

S is for solutions, which differ from results in that there may be more than one solution to any given problem. Then the team can implement the best choice.

T is for time management. A well-managed team uses their meeting and planning time efficiently, and understands when it is time to finish the project.

U is for unity. Once a decision is made, the team needs to be unified to implement the plans. If the team can't act as a unit, then it may be necessary to reconfigure the team.

V is for voice. Every team member has to have a voice in the proceedings, and it is up to the team leader to ensure that all voices are heard.

W is for work ethic. Each member needs to complete the given assignments and should have confidence that others will demonstrate the same commitment.

X is the X factor - the chemistry that makes a team productive because all members are committed to the same goal.

Y is for yes - say it as often as you can. "Yes, I can help. Yes, that's a good idea. Yes, let's move ahead. Yes, we did it!"

Z is for zeal. Passion, eagerness and enthusiasm are contagious; share your zeal with the rest of your team.

Mackay's Moral: The team you build will determine the business you build.

Mackay: Teamwork key in today's business world

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