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Creating the perfect team

Creating the perfect team

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The value of teamwork has long been recognised. Business people talk about working as a team, building the team and sometimes even mutter that there is ‘no I in team' (though there is, of course, a ‘me'…). Knowing the importance of creating a good team is one thing, but how do you actually go about creating this all-encompassing super unit? In this hot tip, we investigate. According to Ivor Smith of Fifth Dimension, a company that has 10 years' experience in organising corporate team building events, the key is making sure that people understand the business's goals and that these goals are deemed to be worth fighting for. Key team building criteria Trust and communication Effective teams operate in an environment in which two-way trust and open, honest communication is the norm. Such an approach enables team members to be clear about tasks, priorities and deadlines, and also to feel comfortable about bringing diverse opinions to the table and addressing conflicts. Listening is a key aspect of the successful team's communication process. Constant feedback Performance feedback is two way and continuous in successful teams and enables team members to understand how their work contributes to the overall team objective, as well as providing a channel through which constructive criticism and appraisal can be directed. Strong and sensitive leadership Successful teams require strong leaders, who can motivate others by inspiring confidence, explaining decisions and communicating objectives effectively. Such leaders are also sensitive and recognise the value in dedicating a certain amount of time to developing relationships based on the differences between team members. Indeed, the most creative leaders will use these differences constructively for the team's advantage. Another feature of winning leaders is the recognition that team building requires constant maintenance. Learning from mistakes Effective teams see mistakes as learning opportunities, rather than reasons for criticism. They are strict on repeated errors, however, while also encouraging appropriate levels of risk and originality. Valuing individuals Strong teams recognise the contribution each member makes to the overall work of the team, and understand that each member is as important as another, in terms of being an expert in a particular area. No blame culture Teams that work well together accept joint responsibility for mistakes and do not waste time blaming one another or making personal justifications. Instead, they celebrate achievements together, as well as recognising individual performance. The team as a living organism Teams are not machines, but living organisms, with values, emotions and behaviours unique to each member. Effective teams regularly examine the process of being a team, and assess the inter-personal relationships as well as how the team relates in its entirety. Strong teams understand the benefits reaped by implementing processes which can accommodate changes in group dynamics. Commitment Members of effective teams want to participate in the team and see the worth of the team's mission. They also understand that their contribution is valuable both to the team and their individual careers, and are challenged and excited by the opportunity to work as part of a team. Creative innovation Teams that succeed are often those that are not afraid to change, and are made up of members who value creative thinking, unique solutions and new ideas. In such an environment, people are rewarded for taking risks to make improvements, and are encouraged to actively stimulate new ways of thinking, by exposing themselves to new experiences. “The effort involved in building and maintaining effective teams should not be under-estimated,” concludes Ivor. “It can be a sensitive, time-consuming process, particularly in business, where tensions often run high. Flexible, developed teams are key to exemplary performance however, and often form the backbone of an organisation, which will experience greatly improved productivity and reduced costs as a result.” For further information about Fifth Dimension's team building services, call 01224 706755 or visit