2009 February 2


Every business owner wants his or her staff to think and act like a team player – today’s weather is a case in point: top teams have either made it to work, or where that hasn’t been possible, they’ve found ways to work at home, despite the snow, because they are committed to the company and its profitability. How do you create a team that turns up and does the job whenever possible?

Successful teams share a common characteristic – every person in the team knows their own role and understands how it fits together with the role of other team members. You can encourage this understanding by giving your team a clear and accurate job description and ensuring that it is reviewed annually. At Innocent, all team members define their own job title, such as Chief Squeezer, Happy Health Supervisor etc. While that may be too whacky for many teams, you can pick out the key skills of each staff member had have them embroidered or silk-screened onto polo or T-shirts. If one team member makes great coffee, give them a Coffee Maestro top, if another is your punctuation person, give her a Grammar Wizard polo shirt to show that her key skills is appreciated. People really shine when they know they are being recognised.

Competitive teams are a fantastic way to encourage your people to work better together. Simply divide them into two teams, one with red T-shirts one with black tees. Tell them that at the end of the quarter, the highest producing team will get a reward. At the end of three months, shift team members around, perhaps having a green team and a yellow team in polo shirts this time, making sure you mix the old teams up well and tell them that the team that saves the most money or comes up with the best recycling plan at the end of the quarter, will be the winner. Making teams on this basis allows your staff to get to know each other and think about how they can work better together.

When it comes to those rewards, think about team events such as a party, a big dinner or picnic, or other similar events that encourage the team-building behaviour to continue. Use the event to give your staff a thank you T-shirt or polo shirt that they can wear to work with a message that recognises their achievement.

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