Five "keepers" for team building in 2012

Here are five "keepers" that will help you build a better team in 2012:

  • Keep it about the people.

No matter what else you do, remember that your team consists of human beings with lives, loves, passions, wants, and basically a million things going on inside their brains. Notice what motivates them and makes them happy outside of work - and show that you notice. The more you make their job an integral part of what makes them happy, the more they'll want to contribute to the team's success.

  • Keep the communications open.

Be transparent. Secrets kill teams, openness bonds them. If your team feels they can't tell you when things go wrong, you won't know until it's too late. If your team feels you trust them, they'll trust you, and vice versa.

  • Keep your eyes on the prize.

Set goals and focus your team's work on those goals. People like being part of something larger. Don't overload your team with extraneous work that distracts from the team goals. Make sure that everyone's role is tied to the team's success - and that everyone knows it. If they don't understand how, show them.

  • Keep resources focused on needs.

Everyone understands that times are tight, but they'll understand it better if frugality is exercised at all levels of the organization. If team members see execs living fat while they have to sacrifice, the ol' team spirit will disappear in a hurry. Likewise, don't spend money unnecessarily or unwisely on them just to "show" that you're fair. For instance, while they will want and appreciate a team-building outing every so often, they won't want it to be so expensive that you can't afford the tools they need to do their job.

  • Keep it fun.

If it's fun to come to work, people will start earlier and stay later - and be more productive while they're there. One team I was on had daily "nerf basketball" games after lunch in the office. It got us laughing, got our juices flowing and got us working together at a time when most others were fighting the after-lunch carbo-loading fatigue.

 

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