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Advance on Teamwork

What does it take to build an effective team?

We've studied thousands of teams and the results are clear: While team meetings are a valuable resource, the biggest complaint is that when a team member arrives late or unprepared, productivity suffers.

To get the most out of team meetings, you should:

  • Arrive on time, knowing what topics will be discussed.
  • Have an opinion before you arrive, while still being open to others' ideas.
  • Deliver on your commitments, or let people know in advance when that won’t happen.

At the Center for Leadership, you will learn simple but effective techniques to create high-performing teams.

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People often hope to get noticed by making outsized contributions. Similarly, new teams tend to compress too much work into their available time. Both behaviors can cause confusion and conflict, and may push some members to the sidelines.

To build credibility and trust, individuals and teams should:

  • Set and meet interim goals.
  • Routinely deliver on their commitments.
  • Celebrate successes along the way.

Trying to be excellent in all things diminishes opportunities for others to develop and demonstrate their own strengths. Such behavior stifles trust.

To engage all team members equally, leaders should:

  • Know each person’s talents and find ways to leverage those abilities.
  • Build a team of people with diverse and complementary strengths.
  • Allow everyone a chance to shine.

At the Center for Leadership, you will identify your strengths as well as where you can create opportunities for others to step up.

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Looking back on failed projects, some team members say they did not share expectations about how they should work together.

To build a foundation of trust, teams should:

  • Take time at the outset to get to know each individual on the team.
  • Understand the motivations and strengths of each team member.
  • Create an environment where all ideas are welcome and members are willing to be vulnerable with each another.

At the Center for Leadership, you will learn to focus on the soft skills that achieve hard results.

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While teams like to solve problems and pursue opportunities, it is a mistake to start with the question, "What decisions should we make for the task at hand?"

To align the team on the project, members should first:

Clearly define the problem to be solved or the opportunity to address.
Agree on what success looks like.
Outline the tasks, timeline and roles and responsibilities for completing them.

At the Center for Leadership, you will learn how using a project plan gets your team off to a great start.

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An ideal team continues to learn throughout their project’s lifecycle. But often the momentum stays with an initial, mediocre solution even when a better idea is discovered.

To remain nimble and responsive to new ideas, teams should:

  • Ask many questions rather than offer up early answers.
  • Encourage all members to contribute.
  • Embrace disagreement and open discussion.

Transform individuals into a successful team

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