Creating and organizing a Work Team: strategies and tips
If you want to achieve success with your startup you need to be clear on two firm points: first, no one has ever succeeded in revolutionizing a business alone. Step 2: The first step for any startup (innovative or not) on the path to achieving ambitious goals is to build a cohesive and motivated team.
Remember the words of Henry Ford:
“Coming together is a beginning; sticking together is progress; working together is success.”
But what does it take to build a team capable of achieving the goals set? Being a leader (or, worse, thinking you are one) is certainly not enough: to identify the right people and build a winning team there is a need to focus on other competencies and soft skills, and many different aspects need to be evaluated.
In the next few lines, first of all, you will understand why it is so important to create an effective work team.
The importance of an effective work team
If you want to understand why building an effective team is important for a startup, you need to think about one aspect: the team of professionals behind such a company is one of the parameters most closely watched by potential investors at the stage when they have to decide whether to finance or not an entrepreneurial project.
This, however, is not the only reason. While it is true that no one has ever succeeded in making history alone, so is the fact that the people by your side can bring you success but can also destroy your business. An analysis conducted in 2020 on 101 “dead” startups, after all, revealed that the third leading cause of failure for this particular type of business is precisely related to mistakes made in the choice of the team.
Do you know why? Having a revolutionary and potentially winning idea can put you on the right track, but it is how you and your business team implement it that really makes the difference, especially in the very first few months of the business’ life.
To increase the chances of success, it is essential, first of all, that the entire work team shares mission, vision and corporate values. We will elaborate in a moment on what has just been said and the other characteristics that a work team must have in order for it to prove successful.
How to create a working team
It will be clear to you by now that knowing how to create a working team makes the difference between failure and success. It is a process that consists of two steps: the first involves identifying the needs of the project, while the second is represented, more concretely, by the choice of team members.
Identify the needs of the project
You cannot succeed in creating a winning team if you do not start with the specific needs of your project. The perfect team for all projects and guarantee of success in every situation does not exist. Therefore, putting together the best professionals in the field is not enough: in fact, each entrepreneurial activity (including your startup) has its own story, specific characteristics and precise goals. Having a clear idea about these aspects allows you to anticipate obstacles that might pop up along the way and, in this way, also helps you identify the people most useful to the project.
In this regard you should think about a very important aspect: your business will not always be a startup. In fact, the launch phase of the project is only the beginning, and therefore you should assess not only the current needs but also the future needs.
Choosing team members
The second key step is to choose the team members. In this regard, you should know that before focusing on people, you need to focus on what you and your startup lack and the specific tasks needed to successfully complete the project. Only by being clear about what needs to be done can you identify the professional best suited to perform them.
The work team must be cohesive and close-knit, as well as aligned on corporate values. That said, however, it is also worth noting that the most successful work teams are generally those composed within them of people who are very different from one another in terms of personal background, mindset, and perception of work. In fact, by composing the team in this way, it is more likely to be able to respond better to various obstacles and seize all opportunities. The challenge, then, is to know how to value the differences of each team member so that the common goal can be achieved.
Have you ever heard of “unicorn” and “zebra” employees? These are terms that identify two very distinct types of workers: many startups, when recruiting, chase so-called “fantasy thinking,” brilliant ideas and innovation at all costs. These are all characteristics characteristic of “unicorn” workers, but there is a catch: unicorns do not exist. For sustainable business, it is more suitable to focus on “zebras,” who are more concrete and efficient in the face of the real problems facing any startup.
Organize the work of team members
However competent and capable your chosen team members may be, they need guidance to show them the way to work. In more practical terms, this means that it is up to you to organize the work.
Set individual goals
Strategic goals are the basis on which the organization of the work of the team members rests: each team member must be clear about the specific goal to be achieved on a personal level (or as a subgroup), but he or she must also know the macro-goals of the startup and its mission. It is in this way, in fact, that you can make him more aware of the impact he is able to have on the fortunes of the company, more empowered and, therefore, more motivated.
People who work in roles based on their strengths are generally more motivated and more productive. When we talk about strengths, as already pointed out, we are not only and exclusively referring to personal “technical-strategic” skills and abilities, but also to some aspects of character, such as mental flexibility, resourcefulness or reliability.
As already pointed out, it can be very useful to focus on people who can come up with creative solutions, but it is absolutely essential to keep in touch with reality: your team members have to perform real tasks and solve real problems, and it is essential to identify the right person who can accomplish the specific task for which he or she was chosen.
Communication and motivation within the team
Finding the right employees and organizing the work in the best possible way is not enough: it is also necessary to ensure clear and effective communication within the work team and to keep all team members well motivated.
Importance of clear communication
Clear communication must start, of course, with the team leader: as such, you must be able to explain to everyone correctly everything you want to convey to the group, starting with the company vision.
So that clarity within the group is not lost, you must also encourage the exchange of ideas: if you have chosen your team members in the right way, each of them is able to offer a useful point of view to resolve a doubt or discover a new solution. Work team members, therefore, should feel free to express their considerations in business meetings.
Motivate the team toward common goals
This is a theme emphasized earlier: each member of the work team, in order to be motivated in the right way and perform at his or her best, must know the common goals of the company. Only then can he understand concretely what his contribution to the cause can be.
While, therefore, diversity within the team can be an added value in terms of discovering new solutions or opportunities, it is important for each employee to be aware of the common vision and ultimate goal: on this, even in diversity, everyone must have the same opinion.
Resolve misunderstandings within the team
The importance of a common vision within the entire work team brings another particularly sensitive aspect of business organization into focus: it is crucial for a team leader to be able to resolve misunderstandings among various team members in time and without serious consequences.
Bringing together people with different personal backgrounds and mindsets, of course, exposes you to the risk that, in day-to-day management, discordant points of view will emerge that can undermine the internal cohesion of the group, even to the point of sinking your startup. A good team leader, however, knows how to create empathy and is able to make everyone feel essential.
Choosing the right work environment
It will not surprise you to learn that an unfulfilling work environment, within which employees are poorly motivated and rewarded, is fertile ground for recriminations and friction within the team. This is why it is essential to choose the right work environment and make it as welcoming and stimulating as possible.
Certain types of work environment can help improve team cohesion: an open space, for example, promotes the circulation and exchange of ideas and experiences among employees. The choice of work environment, however, also depends primarily on the characteristics, economic possibilities and goals of the company.
Regardless of the type of office, you should know that it is useful to create leisure spaces to allow workers to “unplug” when they need to and to provide for team bulding experiences, as well as to guarantee bonuses and creative perks for employees (such as, for example, flexible hours or the 4-day work week). Crucial, then, is to never fail to provide rewards for goals achieved.
Conclusion: the benefits of teamwork
At the beginning of our analysis we immediately made it clear why it is so important to create a cohesive and efficient working team. In addition to the above, now, as we conclude this in-depth analysis, it is useful to remind you of the benefits you can enjoy in doing business properly as a team: team working gives rise to a stimulating and productive confrontation between different points of view, ideas and experiences, thus opening the door to new strategies and new opportunities that, by conducting business alone, you might have been precluded from. Remember: no one has ever achieved success alone.