3 Steps to Foster Better Teamwork in Small Business

A prospective client told me she wanted to create better teamwork among her staff.

I asked her if participating in teamwork was part of her annual performance evaluation process with employees. She looked at me like a deer in headlights.

I immediately gave her three strategies to employ to foster more and better teamwork:

1) Make teamwork and collaboration with colleagues an “expectation” of performance. Define the terms and the teams so everyone understands. Too often because it’s a “small business,” collaboration and teamwork are assumed to be understood. Even if it is, often environmental factors get in the way of teamwork manifesting to the levels desired.

2) Create team rewards. Most team members on small business teams are rewarded based on singular effort. This creates competition, not collaboration. In professional sports, all team members receive the three same rewards:

  • the championship ring,
  • an equal share of the dollars in the bonus pool, and
  • the label of a champion, which increases each athlete’s value in the market place. Those three rewards are 100% equal across the board regardless of the athlete’s regular season contracted salary.

Small business owners can likewise create team rewards that foster the desired teamwork behavior.

3) As soon as a team member is identified as having acted detrimental to the team effort, it must be addressed promptly, directly and respectfully, by either the small business owner, or a teammate (in athletics it is often the team captain and not the coach who addresses the issue on first or second instance).

Those three strategies will give any small business a solid framework for making teamwork, work.

What do you think? Leave a comment below to continue the conversation.

’til next time,

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