2 min read

Building Winning Teams with Strategy & Intention

Team

In an environment where the pace of work is seemingly ever-increasing, and deadlines loom closer and closer, it can be challenging to slow down long enough to think through the strategy behind your decisions. Especially when those decisions involve determining who is assigned which tasks when those tasks needed to be completed yesterday! Unfortunately, when it comes to creating and building winning teams to complete larger projects, thinking through a strategy is exactly what’s needed. Tired of making-do with partially engaged teams that you’re fitting into a project? Ready to start crafting teams that are well-suited to excel at the tasks you need to get done? Check out these tips to help you assemble a team that’s positioned to win. 

  1. Assess What You Have- and What Your Team Needs: Start with the skills needed. Then the knowledge. Then the personalities. How can you craft a team that includes the visionaries to see the big picture, the skeptics to keep a focus on what’s possible, the actors to make the refined vision come to life, and the referees to keep everyone on track and working together. Can your team work without all of these roles? Of course! But including them will maximize your team’s chances of success. And, if you don’t know who these people are, ask them! Find out how your team members like to participate in group work. People often love to talk about themselves - especially if they feel like you are interested in their answers and preferences. 

  2. Look Outside the Box: Consider cross-departmental opportunities. Have teams in other departments taken on similar initiatives in the past? Do they operate in fundamentally different ways that could be beneficial to your department? Do they have institutional knowledge that your team is lacking? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, it might be worth considering how you can involve a team member from another department to give your team a strategic advantage. This will benefit your team and your project, but will also strengthen the collaborative spirit of the organization as a whole.

  3. Align Timeframes with Organizational Goals: Stop to consider how the collaborative project fits in with the overall mission and goals of the organization. If you’ve been tasked with a quick turnaround time, ask if this is truly an urgent project? Or is it a product of a false urgency culture? Consider your ability to negotiate for a more reasonable timeframe by explaining which projects will need to be delayed or sidelined in order to meet an urgent (or unreasonable) deadline. It’s possible that the timeframe was given without a thorough understanding of all the players involved and their respective priorities and responsibilities. It may be possible to adjust the deadline after sharing this information. When projects are planned strategically, you can craft a team of the most appropriate employees, with the time and bandwidth to prioritize the work. When deadlines are unreasonable, and employees are stretched too thin, it will be challenging for even your best-assembled team to complete their projects - nevermind completing their projects while still feeling engaged and productive at work. Careful consideration of priorities and deadlines can empower you to create a project plan that works for the benefit of the organization and its employees.

Starting with these three strategies will help you level up your team’s ability to knock it out of the park. By playing to team members’ strengths, gaining additional perspectives and experience from others, and working to create healthy timelines and mission-driven priorities, individual engagement and investment will increase - leading to a more unified and successful team.

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