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Building a Great Team Culture

Wednesday, July 04, 2012   By Mike Reddy


It seems that the challenge of building a team has been with us forever. People are the essential ingredient in all businesses however many business owners struggle to harness and develop the huge opportunity that a motivated and committed team of people can bring to a business.

Building a team means first creating a culture that allows for teamwork. It requires engineering your business in a particular way.

So what are the essential steps in beginning to form a team culture in your business? Firstly, you will need to start at the beginning by reaffirming your business vision with your team.

Affirming the vision is about two things: showing your team what direction the business is headed in, and getting their buy-in for this direction. You can't expect people to support each other in what they are doing if they don't agree with where the business is headed or, worse, don't even know where it's supposed to be headed.

Get their ideas on what type of culture they think currently exists; you may be surprised at the gap between your perception and theirs. You'll need to know this so you can take steps to narrow any identified gap.

Another important part of building a winning team is to encourage participation by the team members in some of the business decision-making processes. The most common way of achieving this is by way of a team meeting.

When you start your team meetings there are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  1. It is important to encourage as much team participation as possible.
  2. Some concrete work must get done, or some firm decisions made. Otherwise they'll just be seen as cosmetic time wasters.

Clearly communicate the message that teamwork and collaboration are expected from everyone.

Celebrate team successes publicly. Research shows that one of the strongest motivators for team behaviour is recognition. Reward and recognise teamwork. Make some aspect of compensation such as bonuses depend on collaborative practices. Every achievement that indicates a win for a team member or the business should be publicly recognised in some way.

Just like anything you want to do well, creating an effective team culture is something you must work at every single day. Team building cannot be a fad of the week.

Mike Reddy is a Chartered Accountant, business coach and advisor helping businesses in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Gold Coast to easily increase their profits and cash flow. He is currently President of the North Sydney Chamber of Commerce, a Regional Councillor for Sydney North East and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Sydney leadership team. As well as advising businesses, Mike presents business development seminars and webinars and is regularly contacted by the media to comment on small business matters. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.