Teamwork

5 Tools for Building an Effective Team

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told us team size should be limited by the two-pizza rule (if it needs more than two pizzas at lunch, it’s too big). Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg runs his business on the belief that “a good team will always make better decisions than an individual.” Bill Gates insists that to get the best out of a team, you have to “give them excellent tools.”

Successful businesses all rely on teams, and perhaps the most important tool any team can have is one that ensures the team operates effectively as a functional whole.

Based on over three decades of research, Capsim’s TeamMATE is a state-of-the-science instrument designed to measure and develop the essential components of effective teamwork. TeamMATE not only provides ongoing feedback on team effectiveness in real time, but it comes with a Teamwork Toolkit to build teamwork competencies.

Like any tool, team tools do require some diligence and effort, but they make the overall goal much easier to achieve. Capsim’s Teamwork Toolkit provides clear guidelines on how to:

1. Create a team charter

Call it the Ground Rules, call it a Team Treaty – whatever the name, a team that plans well, plays well. A team charter is an agreement among team members on how the team will work together – from who does what, to how the team will deal with poor performance. Having a copy on hand at every team meeting acts as a consistency check.

2. Make meetings efficient and effective

Who hasn’t felt “OMG, not another meeting?” But meetings can actually be something to look forward to – if they are conducted well. A consistent structure, good preparation, a clear agenda, deliberate time keeping, and follow up on decisions dramatically reduces the time and energy each meeting requires while ensuring its effectiveness.

3. Reduce social loafing

Research shows almost all of us admit to free riding or coasting at some time – the good news is that with planning and monitoring, a team can cut the likelihood of social loafing and improve performance at the same time. If a team creates a team charter (Tool 1) and follows the guidelines for effective meetings (Tool 2), it’s already well on the way to reducing the likelihood of individual free-riding. This tool provides even more ways to ensure every team member is an active contributor.

4. Resolve conflict

Conflict stems from multiple sources – from opposing ideas to personality clashes. The process for resolving conflict, however, generally involves two key phases: first, acknowledging the conflict exists and second, dealing with it proactively. The Toolkit has plenty of suggestions for effectively managing conflict before it spins out of control, sabotaging the team’s goals.

5. Use feedback for development

TeamMATE provides feedback from many perspectives. Each member of the team assesses his or her own performance, other members, and the team as a whole using a simple online survey that takes just minutes to complete. Assessments are scheduled periodically throughout the team’s project. Simple to read graphs and charts quickly diagnose performance problems. Individuals can see what they need to improve and the team can identify its overall weaknesses and strengths. The ongoing feedback provided by TeamMATE quantifies a team’s development while enriching this process and ultimately improving team outcomes.

TeamMATE is available as an individual license per participant or as a site license for any sized enterprise.

For further information give us a call at 312.477.7200 or email welcome@capsim.com.

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