team building

December 19, 2008

Two More Trust-Building Skills For Managers

Establish strong business ethics.

Where managers create a moral value system for the workplace, they will nurture their employees. Teams which have a common ethics are healthier, much more resourceful, adaptable and productive, because of the common root of their consistent value systems.

Always keep your word.

By making actions visible and fulfilling commitments, managers become trusted.

Failing on promises is insincere and causes tensions. A manager needs to deliver actions visibly, to ensure everyone is aware that they can be depended upon.

That builds trust!

Filed under Developing Your People, Management Basics, Managing Me by Martin

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December 12, 2008

Management Is OK – Then The Leader Comes Along!

Because a manager is interacting so intimately with all parties, he or she will instinctively have knowledge of what clicks, who should be made to work together with whom and how to deal with problems.

But while a manager by virtue of the nature of his work has to be an insider, working closely at the sharp-end of the business every day, the leader does not.

He can work from the sidelines and inspire change without even having a personal stake in what’s happening today.

Leadership is needed for future growth and development in any business. It is a strategic activity, requiring vision, creativity and market-wisdom.

Management is what gets work done; what brings today’s cash-flow and ensures the health of the business right now and in the foreseeable future.

It is the true force and inspiration behind any successful organization, without which, there would be no future.

Filed under Building the Future, Focus on Results, Management Basics by Martin

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December 5, 2008

Get Management Right – Then Focus On Leadership

So, since utilizing and distributing resources is what is demanded from the manager, he cannot afford to be overly authoritarian.

If he is, then he may push his workers into being less productive.

Instead he should be the friendly but firm guide who inspires dedication to a common end.

Any manager’s goal is to maximize resources and reap the highest results, while dealing efficiently with clients and their quirks (as well as employees).

So while leadership focuses on taking companies onto new directions and give them new visions and aims, good managers help inspire employees deliver results in the shorter term in a focused way.

This helps the company to consistently reap profits right now, maintaining stability and equilibrium, so providing a healthy environment for the longer term potential the leader seeks to unleash.

So a good manager will know how to handle stakeholders, clients and workers with equal ease, keeping things moving along nicely.

Filed under Building the Future, Management Basics by Martin

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December 2, 2008

Five Characteristics of a High Performance Team

High performance teams share a number of characteristics that set them apart from their less capable counterparts. Some of these characteristics are objective and easily quantifiable. Others are of the “I know it when I see it” variety; subjective and hard to define.

But whether subjective or objective these characteristics form the basis of developing and maintaining a high performance team.

Here are five characteristics that are particularly important:

1. The team has defined what success looks like.

The ability to accurately identify the desired outcome is common to all high performance teams. Whether it’s introducing a new product, winning a sports championship or developing a new process high performance teams have a clear understanding of their ultimate goal.

2. The team’s actions are guided by specific values.

Teams, like individuals, possess values that impact on their actions. High performance teams develop and continually enforce a core set of positive group values that govern the actions of each team member. From these values come the principles and processes that guide the team’s daily activities.

3. The team is made up of the right people, and they’re in the right places.

The best teams are those that put each member in the role for which they are uniquely suited. This often requires looking beyond job descriptions to find those hidden or under-used talents that members possess.

4. They have identified barriers to success and have planned to eliminate or minimize those barriers.

Whether you call them barriers or challenges or even opportunities, every team faces problems that can prevent successful completion of their mission. High performance teams are adept at recognizing those barriers and devising effective plans to overcome them.

5. The team conducts periodic progress evaluations.

You can’t get where you’re going if you don’t know where you are. High performance teams define success in ways that are specific, pertinent, attainable, measurable and observable.

They use their definition in conducting periodic progress evaluations in order to determine their progress in relation to their desired end-state. This in turn allows them to make mid-course corrections if necessary.

Building and maintaining a high performance team takes commitment, time and effort. It also requires a focus on those positive characteristics that distinguish high performance teams.

Teams that invest the time and effort and maintain that focus will consistently exceed expectations, enjoy high member satisfaction and serve as a model for others to follow.

Doug Petch PhotoDoug Petch specializes in helping organizations and individuals create the synergies in team building, leadership and communication skills that lead to sustained profitability and long-term success. He is also the host of the popular Sixty Second Success Seminar, an audio program focused on the tools, tips and techniques that anyone can use to navigate their path to success. Website:

Filed under Developing Your People by Martin

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December 1, 2008

Difference Between Self-Managed and Self-Directed Teams

Many companies use teams to help improve quality, work processes, or customer service. When a company is beginning the team-building journey, the leaders need to understand what sort of team they want to end up using the most in the organization. Although many use the terms self-managed and self-directed interchangeably for teams, there are differences in how the teams are used and operate. Listed are characteristics of the two sorts of team to consider when developing work teams in an organization.

Characteristics of a self-managed team

  • Team receives goals from leadership and determines how to accomplish their goals.
  • Builds employee commitment and increases morale.
  • Team members must get training in holding meetings, problem solving, project planning, and team skills.
  • Team designs job procedures and determine their work processes and assignments.
  • Although little supervision is required, this can be time consuming for leader as the team progress and direction may need to be monitored.
  • Requires open communication from leadership on company goals and objectives.
  • Team can increase customer satisfaction through better response time in getting work done or answers to problems.

Characteristics of a self-directed team

  • Team determines own goals and determines how to best to accomplish them.
  • Creates environment of high innovation, commitment, and motivation in team members.
  • Team members need additional training in decision making, resolving conflicts, and advanced problem solving techniques.
  • Can be high cost since it is time consuming to build team and conflict will occur.
  • Less time consuming for leader, but is harder to track progress and verify team is going in correct direction.
  • Requires a system that provides two-way communication of corporate strategy between leaders and their teams.
  • Teams can reduce cycle time because they solve any work problems as they arise and make informed decisions on how to proceed.

In reviewing the characteristics of self-managed and self-directed teams, the differences in how the teams may operate and which may best be used in a particular organization or situation may be easier for management to understand. With this understanding, companies wanting to use teams to help improve quality, work processes, or customer service may get a better idea how to determine which sort of team may best fits their situation and desired outcomes.

Shirley Fine Lee, author of “R.A!R.A! A Meeting Wizard’s Approach”, has worked as a training and development specialist since 1986, and an independent consultant since 2000. She has extensive experience, helping organizations with their team building, training development, meeting facilitation, presentation delivery, and other communication needs. This work involves developing productivity tools, presenting workshops, and writing. For instance, she has authored numerous training manuals and guides, on a wide variety of topics. Her programs include time management, getting organized, problem solving, and team building. Find out more about her and options she provides on her website.

Filed under Building the Future, Developing Your People, Management Basics by Martin

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November 30, 2008

3 Common Errors of Teambuilding Programmes

These days everybody wants to “do teambuilding” to derive the benefits for their business. But it’s very easy to get it wrong, resulting in a waste of time and money. Even worse, getting teambuilding wrong can actually result in damaging your team performance and result in key individuals leaving the business.

There are a few things you can do to ensure the exercise works for you, and a few key mistakes you want to avoid.

The most common mistakes made in teambuilding are these:

1. Not including the whole team
2. Not employing a qualified facilitator
3. Not following up when you get “home”

1 If you want to improve the performance of your team as a whole, you should include all the people whose performance you want to improve. If you leave a certain member of your team back at the office, they won’t get the benefits of the exercise which could form divides in the workforce as some members feel left out. If you are a small team and need to keep the office staffed by someone, look at running 2 events a week apart. Sure, it costs more money, but what is the cost of recruiting someone new to replace a dissatisfied person who has just left the team?

2 Spending time together as a group is helpful for team bonding, but is not enough to be called “teambuilding”. Teambuilding is a structured and facilitated process, involving a task, or tasks, that are designed to uncover people’s true skills and abilities, regardless of their workplace roles, and force the individuals to work together as a real team. To ensure that this happens you need a facilitator with the appropriate qualifications and experience.

3 Don’t treat your teambuilding event as an isolated event. The money and time your company has spent on the teambuilding exercise will be wasted if the learning gathered about your people is not put into action as you return. Did you find out that the office junior, has a flair pulling the important points out of a complex situation? Put him in charge of meeting minutes and train him on your corporate reporting protocols. Were the book-keeper and the facilities manager the pair that found the fastest route through the maze on the last day? Set them to cost planning for your intended office move now, they will probably save you time and money.

You have invested in your team by arranging your teambuilding event because you believe that your people are worth it and it will bring you results. You can make those results more likely to happen by not making these mistakes.

About the Author:

Tamsin spoke with Doug Henderson, the UK Teambuilding Expert who has developed a fun and successful London-based teambuilding programme with London RIB Voyages, the luxury fast boat tour providers. Programmes take place over 1 or 2 days on and around the Thames, with clients benefiting from easy access and minimum time for their teams to be away from work. For more info, email or use the form at

Filed under Building the Future, Developing Your People by Martin

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November 28, 2008

Managers Focus On Today’s Performance

To manage well is to focus on ongoing activities.

Since the aim of management is to maximize profits using available resources, any good manager should be able to motivate and encourage his or her people.

They should have the ability to initiate the workers, any company’s main assets, into an inspired state of working, to get them pulling together in order to achieve a common goal.

It is only when managers are accomplishing results, through the co-operation of their workers that a company will be able to flourish. This is why a manager has to have the keen ability to gauge his workforce’s needs and act accordingly.

If his workers are capable and have adequate skill then the manager merely has to motivate and encourage them towards progress.

If, on the other hand, the workforce is not that accomplished, the manager’s task is to personally guide and instruct them in order for them to benefit.

Filed under Building the Future, Management Basics by Martin

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November 25, 2008

Five Team Building Myths

Successful organizations recognize the importance of high performance teams in avoiding wasted time, wasted effort and wasted money.

This does not mean, though, that the people in these organizations are aware of the many team building myths that have gained acceptance over the years.

Here are five common myths that you should recognize and resist:

Team building is an event.

FACT: Too many managers and team leaders believe that holding off-site team building events is all there is to building an effective team. But, while some of these events can be useful in strengthening team bonds, they are but one component of an effective team building strategy. The key here is to never forget that team building is a process made up of many discrete events.

MYTH: Team building is designed to eliminate conflict and disagreement.

FACT: Eliminating conflict and disagreement results in a “group think” mentality that ultimately stifles innovation and achievement. An effective team is one that has learned to manage conflict and disagreement in a constructive manner.

MYTH: Only managers and team leaders are responsible for building teams.

FACT: It’s true that managers and team leaders are responsible for assembling team members and for their output, but they are not solely responsible for turning those individuals into a team. Each team member has a stake in the process of building an effective team. They must master the skills necessary to function as a team, even when the manager or team leader is not present.

MYTH: Team members must like each other.

FACT: In a perfect world, that would be true. But in the real world it is entirely probable that some of your team members will not get along on a personal level. The key is to recognize and acknowledge these conflicts and to work with these team members so that they can maintain a workable professional relationship

MYTH: A team that starts strong will stay that way.

FACT: While you may succeed at building a team that excels in the first two stages of teambuilding – forming and storming- that does not mean that the team will continue to excel as it moves through the last two stages – norming and performing. Teams typically fluctuate amongst the four stages, particularly when new members are introduced or when faced with unanticipated challenges.

Accepting any one of these five myths as fact can have a tremendous negative impact on your chances of team building success.

Recognizing them for what they are and taking appropriate steps to eliminate them from your team building beliefs, on the other hand, will lead you to focus on more effective methods for building a strong, high performance team.

Doug Petch PhotoDoug Petch specializes in helping organizations and individuals create the synergies in team building, leadership and communication skills that lead to sustained profitability and long-term success. He is also the host of the popular Sixty Second Success Seminar, an audio program focused on the tools, tips and techniques that anyone can use to navigate their path to success. Website:

Filed under Developing Your People by Martin

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November 23, 2008

Empowerment – Developing Your Management Capabilities

You might be surprised how many manager feel concerned when they need to leave their business – you see they have fallen short in being able to empower their employees to cope without them.

And that’s a problem…

Empowerment means a degree of freedom for a manager and, perhaps even more important, fulfilled and developed employees.

Filed under Developing Your People, Managing Me by Martin

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November 21, 2008

Leaders or Managers – What’s The Most Valuable?

Leadership is a quality, which is undeniably useful for the eventual benefit of the company.

Management is the crucial, integral activity that will ensure it survives today, by ensuring the company delivers it’s operational requirements, thereby ensuring the possibility of seeing a tomorrow at all.

Leadership can be described as ‘that quality which involves innovation, risk taking and exploring of new avenues’ for the company to secure a stable, unchallenged superior position in a competitive world.

From this it could be considered that in a constant and steady state, all an organization consistently needs is solid management skills to survive, without any need for leadership skills.

Leaders in any organization are the seeds sown for health and success in the future.

Filed under Building the Future, Management Basics by Martin

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