Connecticut Employment Lawyers Association Weekly (7/11/11)

This week's contents:

Topic of the Week  Teams That Work: Creating Effective Teams:

At work teamwork is always the answer, no matter what the question, but getting teams to function at a high level is a challenge facing most organizations today. Which reminds me of groups of thieves in New Zealand and Uddington, Scotland. Neither group broke into Fort Knox, but they did pick unlikely targets: a prison and a police station where they stole a TV and uniforms and radios. A jail and a police station, wow these are thieves that invented the word brazen.
These thieves were bold. How often can you say that about the results from the teams in your workplace? It's interesting how teams often degenerate into the lowest common denominator instead of a breakthrough. But it doesn't have to be this way. That's why I've included three Do's and one Don't to make your teams work more creatively and effectively. For more, check out "You Already Know How To Be Great" by Alan Fine (Portfolio, 2010).
DON'T live in a fantasyland. It helps to start by looking at what has worked, and what hasn't worked, for your company in the past. I'm not saying that you need to be bound by your organization's past. For example, an effort to move your company web site to mobile devices would be a lot easier to do now than it would have been before the App Store at iTunes. So you need to be aware of your company's past, but not bound by it.
DO have goals. Teams work best when they are pointed in a specific direction and then left alone to sort out how they'll reach the target. That's why it's usually best for the people in charge to establish the goals for whatever the team is working on. But then to leave it up to the team as to how they achieve the goals. This often presents the best of all possible words, direction from above but a long leash to accomplish the mission.
DO explore options. Okay, I'm probably a bit too focused on new ways to get between two points. But that is an important balance to strike with a team. Being sure that there is a balance of people who are knowledgeable about your current system along with people who are ready to toss it all in favor of doing things new ways. Having that balance won't always make for smooth sailing on your committee but it will make for the best results.
DO see the way forward. Every goal worth achieving will have obstacles, from internal policies, to regulations, to your partners. The list goes on and on. But the key is to accept that obstacles are part of the process of refining and focusing your initiative. Start by anticipating challenges that will come up and then offer strategies for addressing these challenges. That is the best way that I know to maintain the momentum of a team at work.
Follow these tips and you'll steal success at work with your team from the jaws of defeat.

Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him via bob@workplace911.com.

Thought of the Week

"Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean"

–Ryunosuke Sotoro

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