Business teams are a pivotal element to small business success, but leaders may struggle to get the best performance out of their teams. From hiring the right people with the right skills, to ensuring smooth collaboration and communication between team members, it may seem like an uphill battle. Additionally, as technology accelerates change in roles, responsibilities, and the work environment, it’s safe to say few people today will be doing the same job in five years.
Generally, professional team building trainers may not have prior experience managing small businesses. The bulk of their experience usually comes from working with large corporate clients and so they may not understand how entrepreneurial business teams work. They’ve never had to make payroll or meet a customer’s deadline. Your business is different.
Let’s debunk six common myths and facts shared by both small and mid-sized businesses when it comes to business teams.
Myth 1: Business teams are the solution for everything
Just because you can have a business team doesn’t mean you should. Some routine projects are best carried out by individuals. By assigning admin or clerical work to one person with the right skills, you may find that it is faster, it’s cheaper, and it may free you up to carry on more critical projects.
Often the best resource to carry out tasks is automation. Technology continues to improve our individual performance and when you team people up with technology it accelerates solutions. For pairing a good administrator with flexible technology, consider solutions that will grow with your business. For example, if you find good accounting software, consider how it may pair with a human resources management system in the future.
Myth 2: Bigger teams are always better
How large should you make your business teams? I prefer smaller teams because they are responsive, agile, and anticipatory. With smaller teams, you can focus each individual’s skillset to the specific problem they need to tackle or tasks they need to accomplish. Take time to evaluate each person’s strengths and delineate their responsibilities and deadlines clearly.
You know the saying, too many cooks in the kitchen? This is exactly what may happen when a large team is handed a project. Most small business experts believe team productivity starts to slip with more than 12 people involved. Research has shown that small business teams are better than big ones. When productivity and efficiency start to slide– take action, it might be time to split teams up.
Try smaller teams and see how your results change. When thinking about efficiency, cross training will help you maximize your team results. Having your people do what they do best is a huge benefit both in results and morale.
Myth 3: Business team leaders are managers
Great teams ask why, when, and how much. By asking the right questions from the onset, this helps create trust that they can carry out the project’s goal. Early team member engagement helps get buy in on challenging projects. Your team leaders should see their role as leader and maximizer of their team’s potential, always keeping their eye on what success looks like at the project’s completion.
Successful team members are constantly evolving and interacting with others in the organization. You can help by facilitating this collaboration so that you accelerate both your organization’s growth and success. You should feel trust in your teams to help you make decisions and expedite the results from their hard work.
Myth 4: Self-interests have no place on business teams
Self-interest and high performance frequently work together to positively impact your business teams’ performance. Successful team leaders use a number of tools to motivate and inspire their teams. For the best performance, your team needs some conflict and superior individual performance to meet your goals and deadline. Self-interest helps provide both conflict and outstanding performance.
The team leader needs to know when to give a pat on the back and when to apply another form of motivation when dealing with different people. The best entrepreneurs understand this. They are constantly monitoring and developing their teams for better performance every day.
Myth 5: All great teams look alike
In today’s smaller organizations, we work with a diverse set of people on different business teams. Team members seldom know all the different strengths of each person on their teams.
The role of the team leader is to coach and evaluate what each individual’s strengths are. Make sure your people are doing the activities that provide the greatest impact with to your organization.
Myth 6: New technology is always good for team performance
Often, people think technology will be the magical fix for their business problems. While technology is a great tool that facilitates and expedites solutions, your teams should be set up with the skills to manage that technology. Spend time researching your tool, asking the necessary questions of your technology partner, and demoing the product to ensure it answers all expected issues.
When bringing a new tool onto your team, allow ample time for the learning curve to get people up to speed on it. Ensure they have the resources to learn the tool. Also allow for resistance of new technologies by some members of your teams. Not everyone embraces new technology with open arms!
Three tips to accelerate your business teams’ performance
There are three tools that can improve the performance of your teams and increase their role in your small business culture.
The first tool is coaching. Coaching is critical to help your business teams succeed. Coaching can accelerate your team’s success by providing the foundation of trust and engagement with your team members.
Although coaching provides a huge lift to your business teams, coaching is not enough. Consider adding mentoring to your business building toolbox as well. Mentoring does two things that coaching can’t. First, mentoring allows your experts to transfer expertise in a positive way. Your best mentors are people who are committed to helping others succeed faster.
Secondly, mentoring allows anyone in the organization to work with anyone else to share knowledge and build connection in the workplace. Younger mentors have allowed my C Suite clients to see the world from a younger perspective. These reverse mentoring relationships increase learning speeds, create better collaboration, and often increase employee retention significantly.
Both coaching and mentoring are designed to be used one-on-one.
Huddles are quick, three-minute meetings designed to help business teams perform better on a regular basis and to ensure a smooth workflow. Titles and higherarchy mean little in these meetings — huddles are task and solutions-based meeting of the minds.
Individuals in business teams should constantly improve their skills when they receive appropriate one-on-one feedback. The huddle is not a replacement for individual coaching or mentoring.
High performing teams are constantly finding new ways to take their results to the next level.
There are many tools available to help your business teams perform better. My preference is to start with coaching and mentoring because it allows many people to help improve your organization’s performance.
Use huddles to keep things moving. Your team members are given a chance to develop stronger leadership capabilities every day. It develops trust and engagement with everyone on your team. It can provide you with guidance on what can be improved. You might learn who could be your next great team leader.