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The seven keys to a winning team
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There may be no other topic that is more important than that of your Team. Team encompasses everything about your business – how work gets done, how relationships get formed, how culture is defined, how celebrations are made, and how businesses are built. Get ready to FOCUS on this critical area of your business!

I’ve seen business owners who got the “team” right and I’ve seen those who have the “team” wrong. The contrast in results is amazing. This critical part of your business can truly make or break you.

Those that get it right enjoy coming to their place of work. The attitude is positive, there is a can-do spirit in the air, communications are open and productive, and the business owner can leave with the assurance that the business will run as well without them as it does with them present.

On the other hand, those who get it wrong tend to have a knot in their gut. You can cut the tension with a knife in the workplace. No one speaks and if they do, it is normally a complaint or criticism. Turnover is high – those who join the team quickly realise it is not what they hoped for and find the fastest way to quit. When the boss is gone, the work slows to a trickle. No one is happy. No one is having fun – especially not the business owner.

I sincerely hope the first example sounds more like you. If so, good for you! Use these next several weeks to fine-tune your team machine. If, however, you can relate to the second example, you’re in luck! Over these next weeks, you will learn how to turn that team into one that is high-performance and well-functioning.

A word of caution as we begin. Not everyone who is currently on your team may be able or willing to make the changes needed for your entire team to become a winning team. Some cannot and some will not change. You must have the courage and conviction to either “change the person” or “change the person” if you know what I mean! Don’t let a long term employee or a high-maintenance employee or an aggressive employee detract you from your mission of building the best team possible – one that can run circles around your competition and give you back your personal freedom.

So this week is simply a set up. I’ll briefly cover the seven Keys to a Winning Team and will ask you to begin assessing yourself and your current team against these seven Keys. Making changes in these areas will require as much change on your part as it will on those who work with you. After all, they are simply following your lead. The question is…are you leading them?

1. Strong Leadership. You must demonstrate a conviction and determination to be a strong leader. I didn’t say nasty or mean – I said strong. There is a difference and we will cover that next week.

2. Common Goal. It is critical for everyone on the team to understand the goal – the big goal. Having a clear and compelling goal is essential.

3. Rules of the Game. Everyone wants and needs to know how the game is to be played and where the boundaries have been set. No more surprises.

4. Action Plan. Everyone in the business must have their own personal plan of action – what they are going to accomplish to move the business forward. If you are going to expect everyone to have a plan, then how important is it that there is a plan for the business?

5. Supporting Risk Taking. Everyone makes mistakes and as the business owner, you must acknowledge the good effort and help the team learn from every good effort that goes badly.

6. 100% Involvement. That’s right – everyone must be involved! We’re not asking team members to simply come in and do their manual tasks. We need everyone to have their head in the game if we’re going to win.

7. Know and Appreciate your People. No matter how well you do keys 1 through 6, if you don’t get to know your colleagues and show them that you care about them, you will not win their heart. We are after their hearts – not just their brains or their muscles.

Added: 8th April 2011

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