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Create Successful Work Teams

July 23, 1999
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You might want to create a team if you can't execute a task individually or if the task requires working interdependently. Here’s how:

Create a common, shared goal and a strong task orientation that translates into each person knowing how to move towards that goal.

Promote interdependency. Each person needs to know what they're going to contribute.

Have measurable outcomes. Team execution is usually more effective if you can measure what the team produces.

Talk about cultural differences and allow people to have some fun with them. For example, in intercultural sessions, you might take accepted cultural dimensions and have people predict how their nationality might behave in certain situations.

Realize that people need to understand differences before coming together effectively and building a unified team.

Continually stress the team's purpose and its measurable outcomes.

Make sure team members have the right skills—technical competence, interpersonal skills (cross-cultural sensitivity) and good problem-solving skills.

Use training to help team members develop interpersonal, intercultural skills.

Provide detailed agendas for meetings.

Spell out lines of communication. How will people communicate with one another?

SOURCE: Larraine Segil, January 25, 1999, author of Intelligent Business Alliances (available at Amazon.com) and co-founder of The Lared Group, based in Los Angeles.

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