In building a new team you can follow these steps:
- Determine the goal of the new team
- Obtain the support of upper management
- Identity time frames
- Select your team
- Determine the teams size
- Establish the team’s vision and mission
- Determine team members roles and responsibilities
- Establish the team norms
As a team leader you need people to want to do what you need, rather than to order them around. Motivation is primarily driven by your understanding your team’s needs rather than just your own. Develop vision and mission for your team, which will help you obtain the support for your team of the upper management, as well as select the right team members:
- Vision. Create a vision that is simple and clear so that everyone can understand it. Eventually, you will need to have your teams’ consensus on this vision.
- Mission. Just like vision, it needs to be defined with everyone’s participation.
- Responsibility. Everyone on the team shares the responsibility for success of failure:
- Teammates will gain ownership of the success, and
- Accountability of failure (leader is accountable to the team, while teammates are accountable to the leader and themselves)
Selecting your team
Once the support of the upper management has been secured, start building your team. That process requires a lot of insight into human nature because proper alignment of professional skills and personalities is often the most critical element of success. Get the feedback of prospective members on the team’s mission (do they believe it is realistic and worthwhile?). Evaluate their analytical and interpersonal skills. While education and rigor are important, so is the resourcefulness. Try to find the right balance between those skills, as well as experience and technical skills.
Diversify Your Team
It is almost always desired to have a range of points of view. That is achieved by diversifying your team with seasoned experts and more junior employees. The latter often offer a fresh perspective and attitude. This will also help ensure the team is more responsive and agile in light of unforeseen changes. However, try not to overdo. Too much diversity may be counterproductive. If the team is too inexperienced, you may end up spending more of your time than you care solving their problems.
Make sure your team is of right size
A general rule is to have a team as light as possible. Ensure, however, that you do not overwork your teammates. As you team ramps up you’ll see knowledge cross pollination with teammates likely to learning other’s tasks and get more productive. If a team member leaves either temporarily or permanently, his knowledge is not lost but is kept within the team. Continue to improve the team’s operation by analyzing which tasks are becoming less valuable and are candidate for automation or being outsourced. It is your responsibility to ask these questions all the time. Try to ‘optimize’ and determine the best teammate lineup all the time. Look for winning combinations.