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Getting The Most Out of Your Team

by Brett Backues on October 19, 2015
In today's business culture, most companies utilize teams to accomplish projects and goals. Teams come together and work in a variety of ways. Some meet on a regular basis, such as weekly or monthly, where others are developed for a specific deadline and meet until the task is accomplished. Each company should evaluate the needs of the business model and develop teams accordingly. To optimize team building and team efficiency, leaders must understand the basic structure and stages of teams. Over the course of a team’s growth, the individuals typically evolve into a synergized team in four stages. 
The initial stage of any team is the forming stage. During this stage, individuals come together from different backgrounds with a common goal in mind. Once management selects the team members to form the team, members must come together to determine the purpose of the group. While a superior may communicate the team purpose or goals, the team should take steps to ensure each individual understands the common goals they are working toward. In this stage, the ground rules need to be set. Some items to decide on include how will meetings run, how often will the team meet, who has the ultimate say in case of conflict, and to whom does the team report. Once the purpose and rules are set, the team can transition to a phase of getting to know one another. During this time, team building exercises prove extremely useful. As members learn about each other, they discover the strengths and challenges of each member and the group as a whole. 
The formed group can now move to the storming stage. This necessary stage can prove difficult to navigate. Strong leaders play a large role to diffuse situations and personality conflicts. As the group expresses ideas and visions, inevitably conflict arises. However, a good leader listens to all points of view and makes pleasing decisions for the group. First, the leader creates a space where all ideas can be shared freely without fear of hurtful feedback. A safe place allows individuals to express their diverse points of view without reservation. An effective leader listens to all ideas and guides the group to a solution. Many times, negotiations through problem solving allow teams to arrive at an answer that satisfies each member and the group as a whole. Assertive, decision makers who listen and utilize constructive criticism make the best leaders to unite the team. However, many teams stay stuck at the storming stage and do not reach their full potential. 
Once group leaders unite the team, they transition to a norming stage. A potential for complacency is very likely at this point. Group members who exited a time of conflict and opposing viewpoints may swing to the opposite extreme. This tendency is especially likely if the storming stage was difficult or long lasting. Members desire to avoid conflict at any cost. Unfortunately, often times without realizing it, the group comes to a silent pact to agree with everything said in order to keep the peace. Keeping the peace seems like a good idea. However, it often leads to groupthink. Groupthink shuts down the creative process and eliminates personal responsibility. Management forms teams to bring together the talents, abilities and view points of each individual into a synergized system. Groupthink robs the team of its purpose and ability to function in the most beneficial way. 
As the team forms, storms, and norms, it develops so that it can perform. At this final stage, members have reached optimal team efficiency. The team leveled out between the extremes of storming and norming and is able to work together to utilize the strengths of one team member to offset the challenges of another. The team discovers synergy and obtains the highest level of productivity and quality of work. Trust between individual team members allows diverse, creative ideas to be presented and adapted based on constructive criticism from group members. Leaders conduct meetings with ease. They spend less time refereeing between members and more time acting on the ideas presented. The goal of every team should be to reach the synergy of the performing stage. 
In order to get the most out of your team, you should adapt and become a team player. Successful team players comprehend the various stages of team building and how to get the most out of their team. You should evaluate yourself and where you fall in each of the stages. During the forming stage, focus on strengths, challenges and the groups purpose. Don't get pulled off track in storming. Offer ideas and constructive criticism with tact. Avoid groupthink and agreeing to avoid conflict during norming. And finally, work hard to reach the performing stage where the team works together, efficiently as a whole. 
Are you ready to spend less time looking for your businesses cash and more time leveraging it?  Is it itme to have a CFO on your team to help you get the most out of your financial goals?  Is your business the right candidate for a CFO?  Find out!  Call us at 425-747-5355 or email