- Posted by James Canada
Teams are essential in the corporate world, and even more important for any successful entrepreneur. Don’t try to do it all yourself. Get the right people on the bus, empower them and get out of the way! The secret is to build a high functioning team—one that understands the vision, realizes the direction, works together well, and accomplishes much in a short time.
Creating a high functioning team takes the concept of working together one step further. Not only is the team productive, but the level of energy while working together is exceptional. Team members are supportive and excited about each other’s creative ideas. True teamwork comes into play without the typical drama. The members think outside the box and exhibit a winning mentality that attracts outsiders wanting to join.
As a business owner, your management of teams is crucial to producing a high-quality product or service for your client. While working at American Airlines I was part of a high functioning team that led a cross-functional team of airline employees. Our goal was to map out the customer experience from ticket purchase to runway takeoff. It quickly became evident that we accomplished more together than we would have done individually. We did not care about individual credit because we enjoyed plenty of team recognition.
We could also see the direct impact we were making on the cross-functional team. They discovered the importance of the internal customer and learned the significance of why and when information was needed throughout the process. It was a project of awareness and we could see the impact we were making to the bottom line. As a high functioning team, we were able to save millions of dollars for the company. It was no surprise that we caught the attention of Senior Management who constantly stopped by our conference room at the Dallas Airport to observe our progress.
As a small business owner, you can create a high functioning team with as little as your enthusiasm, energy, and willingness to listen to your employees. Encourage them to be creative and do your best to adopt their ideas without rewriting everything they give you. Form a team to help you with your strategic plan—set the expectations, step aside and watch them get things done. Encourage them to come up with a new product or service and provide them with the tools to be successful. After all, if they succeed then you succeed. You will be surprised with what can be accomplished with a little encouragement and support from the leadership.
Jim is an operations, business development and program/project management leader with Executive Management experience in both Service and Manufacturing environments.
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