5 Strategies to Improve Collaboration for a Healthy Small Business Team

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“Not finance. Not strategy. Not technology. It is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it is so powerful and so rare.”  – Pat Lencioni

 

 

If you’ve read any of Pat Lencioni’s books, you’d believe in the power of a healthy team. And the last thing you would want is for your team to become a siloed organization closed off from innovative thinking.

 

When your team is small, each member plays a vital role in the overall success of the business. A healthy team insures each person’s voice is heard and valued. And a healthy team understands that in addition to a shared set of values, the right mindset, qualities, and tools are needed to accomplish company objectives.

 

If you want your team to advance your family-owned business in the right direction, it’s essential to find ways to improve collaboration. Below, I share five strategies that will get you there!

 

 

1. Define a Healthy Team

Another crucial step in boosting collaboration is ensuring all of your employees understand what a healthy team is and does. Ideally, your team (and typically I’m referring to the leadership team, executive team, and management team) is a group of people with diverse and complementary skills where everyone is working toward a common and well-defined vision.

 

Also, team members should show dedication to achieving your company’s vision and communicating with other team members clearly and effectively. Having a shared set of values and living those values is a great way to define what a healthy team sounds like, which takes us to establishing your standards.

 

 

2. Establish Your Standards

Your team must also establish the group and personal performance standards. Here’s where a shared set of values makes a huge difference in garnering a competitive advantage. One company, for instance, has “Say Please and Thank You’ as one of its established standards. I’ve applied this standard in my company and have found teammates are more respectful and feel more appreciated on a consistent basis, which I appreciate as a leader of my small company.

 

When everyone is sharing a common behavior and shows a commitment to the established standards, trust and trustworthiness become the standard, which makes people feel good, appreciated, and valued.

 

Individuals and the team benefit when you review mistakes together. These mistakes become learning opportunities each time one of your team members (or the team as a whole) experiences failure. Taking some time to determine what you can learn from it will also help to build trust and cooperation among the group.

 

 

3. Foster Cooperation

Along with setting standards, nurture your team’s cooperation with clear goals that have milestones toward success. Making sure all team members frequently interact with one another will foster cooperation. Prioritizing honesty and integrity, while vitally important (Note: I don’t recommend having these as written values since these are table stakes in any company today) ensures that each employee understands what’s required to hold up their end of any agreements made.

 

By intentionally making and keeping agreements, each of your team members can build a track record of trustworthiness. Remember each team member has a different story and comes from a different background. So, encourage your employees to consider others in their language, tone, and behaviors.

 

 

4. Hold Weekly Meetings

Holding weekly meetings lasting 60-90 minutes with the same structured agenda each week has proven to be helpful to teams in getting and staying on the same page. Following a format like this helps team members prepare for the meeting and know what’s expected of them:

 

Meeting Agenda

 

  • 5 minutes Good News Share professional and personal good news to connect with the team and give appreciation to others.
  • 5 Minutes Company Quarterly Priorities Review the status of quarterly priorities and KPIs and identify any challenges and/or opportunities.
  • 5 Minutes Team Member & Customer Feedback Review recent feedback from ongoing team members and customer feedback that should be addressed.
  • 45 Minutes One or Two Topics Use the time to review, discuss, brainstorm, and decide next steps on topics of importance and relevance.
  • 5 Minutes To Do List Review the action-items captured on the WWW worksheet and enter action items into your tracking program.
  • 5 Minutes Meeting Rating (1-10) Ask each attendee to rate the effectiveness of the meeting from 1-10 (1 = horrible, 10 = outstanding) and discuss the results. Check-in, go over last meetings to-do list, review the weekly scorecard and accomplishments of any milestones on individual and company quarterly priorities, review any customer or employee issues, and then spend the majority of the meeting processing issues that need to be addressed, discussed, and solved.

 

 

5. Use Software to Hold the Team Together

We use software systems to keep the team and the information together. We like and recommend Traction Tools (Traction Tools is an official sponsor of my Disruptive Successor Show), but have had success with programs like Align Today or Metronome Software to track all of the above items, keep a history, and have it as a central place for tracking your progress on business plans, etc.

 

Collaboration is the key to business success. Implement the five strategies above and you might be surprised by how quickly your team becomes more productive, efficient, and cooperative. And keep researching other methods of fostering healthy collaboration among your team.

 

 

Interested in having an evaluation of your team?

 

We can help you build a healthier team to increase your competitive advantage.

 

Schedule a free call today.