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Top-Shelf Tip No. 229:

"Teamwork is so important that it is virtually impossible for you to reach the heights of your capabilities or make the money that you want without becoming very good at it."

Brian Tracy

Building A High-Performance Team, Part 1

Have you ever been on a team where everyone simply gelled? If so, you no doubt noticed the collaboration and camaraderie. The team accomplished significant goals, motivated each other and had fun in the process. Then the team broke up. Joe moved to away due to his wife's transfer. Molly was recruited by another department. You took on more responsibility with another client. Great teams are special, and it's often a challenge to recreate them.

When it comes to constructing a team of people who work well together to create winning outcomes, there are seven key steps, according to Magi Graziano, business author and CEO of KeenAlignment. We'll share these steps today and tomorrow in Promotional Consultant Today.

1. Identify and clarify the purpose for the team. People must understand the why behind what they are doing. Once the purpose for the team is crystalized and talking points are clearly outlined, it is the initiator of the team's role to connect the dots for people to see how they connect to it. Communicating an inspiring vision for team members and mapping what success looks like when it is achieved is a foundational element for putting a group of people together and motivating them to work together in unison.

2. Select a leader. The team's leader does not have to be the person who initiates the team or creates its purpose; it does need to be a person who accepts the responsibility for shepherding and guiding the team to success. The leader's job is to be present—to be there for the team. The best leaders select the right people, inspire them towards a vision and back out of the way during the planning stage—unless they are specifically asked for guidance.

3. Establish rules. People need to know what is expected from them, and from the team. People need to know and understand where the boundaries are regarding decision-making, autonomy and performance. Giving people the rules of the game before they agree to play it allows for people to opt in or opt out of the team and the game. Advanced clarity of expectations also reduces unnecessary problems, reduces ambiguity and confusion, and serves to mitigate poor performance and unwanted turnover on the team.

4. Select the players. Whether you are building an enterprise or a team of people to accomplish a project, it is crucial that you select the right people for the right roles, for the right reasons. When this happens, people join the team for the right reasons, which is the baseline team engagement. When people are engaged, they have a strong desire to bring value—to be a contributor. They enjoy the type of work they are doing and connect their work to the bigger picture.

The best team dynamics happen when there is a variety of people who bring their uniqueness to the team. Beyond competencies and skills, it's important to consider unique traits that each team member brings to the table and how those unique traits can be leveraged for optimal creativity and innovation.

Want more team-building tips? Read PCT again tomorrow.

Source: Magi Graziano, as seen on NBC, is the CEO of KeenAlignment. She is also a speaker, employee recruitment and engagement expert and author of The Wealth of Talent. Through her expansive knowledge and captivating presentations, Graziano provides her customers with actionable, practical ideas to maximize their effectiveness and ability to create high-performing teams. With more than 20 years' experience as a top producer in the recruitment and search industry, she empowers and enables leaders to bring transformational thinking to the day-to-day operation.

Compiled by Cassandra Johnson

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