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Ten Critical Success Factors of Teamwork
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 Each day, more than 50 individuals view this page in search of information about the critical success factors that lead to sustainable results from successful and dynamic teamwork.
 
During the past two decades we have mentored and coached the executive leaders of several hundred senior management teams.  In most cases we have helped these team leaders implement a methodology of teamwork focused on the following ten critical success factors . . . six of which we consider core factors plus four which are necessary for effective execution of action plans by the team and its members.
 
Many times we are engaged to help a team leader address dysfunctions in the team that have had a dramatic and negative impact on the team's' results.  In nearly every case we have traced the dysfunction to a failure of the team's leader and/or sponsor to recognize and embrace one or more of the critical success factors.
 
Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss and/or learn more about these critical success factors and their application within an organization.  Embracing these factors with best practices of team leadership will help insure your teams are successful.
 
Tom Samson
President
Teamwork Dynamics, inc.
Please click "Contact Us" for contact information.

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The Six Core Factors
 
There are six critical success factors that must be in place before any group begins to function as a leadershp team.

1. Supportive Sponsor

Leadership teams are usually formed by a sponsor who recognizes that reaching an organizational goal will require a group of individuals working together to provide the leadership necessary to move a company, division or unit towards the organization's goals.  It is the sponsor’s responsibility to create a ‘charter’ that establishes the leadership team and it’s primary focus.   In addition, the sponsor establishes specific goals the leadership team is to accomplish.  The sponsor will also select the team leader and gain his or her commitment to lead the leadership team in defining and carrying out the needed actions.  <Click here> to learn about our Dynamic Teamwork Readiness Review Program that leadership team sponsors use to help prepare leaders of the teams they have formed focus on these critical success factors.

2. Focus on Stakeholder Outcomes

A shared understanding of the leadership team’s stakeholders, their expectations of the team, and the values the team embraces  is essential to create the focus needed as the leadership team members plan and execute the actions necessary to achieve the team’s goals. 

3. Smart Goals

Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound goals should be established by the team’s sponsor and then broken into sub-goals by the leadership team.  Without SMART goals, the team will lack the milestones necessary to drive action.

4. Committed Leadership

Every leadership team needs a leader who focuses the members of the team on the mission, purpose, and goals of the team.  This individual must be committed to the team’s results and must be willing to be held accountable by the team’s sponsor and other stakeholders, for leading the team through processes that insure the team’s goals are reached.  The team leader must engage each team member in the processes of the team and build a platform of mutual trust that leads to open debate, collaboration, individual commitment, and personal accountability.

5. Mutual Trust

The most important element of successful team work is the establishment of a platform of mutual trust that enables the leadership team to engage in open debate and decision making that leads to commitments to action by individual members of the team.  Building this trust requires an openness that allows team members to know and understand the beliefs and behaviors of all members of the team so that team actions can be structured to take advantage of each member's uniqueness and talents.  Behavioral and values assessments are powerful tools <Click here to learn more> in developing an understanding how each member of the leadership team views themselves and responds to others in the team.

6. Engaged Leadership Team Members

An effective leadership team will have team members who are actively engaged in the work and focus of the team.  This will require that each team member emotionally commits to actively and openly participate in the team’s processes in the pursuit of the team’s goals.  The team member must willingly commit to carry out action plans to complete individual actions necessary for the team to reach their team goals.  The team member must be dependable and carry the full weight of personal responsibility to complete their individual commitments by the date committed to.  Engaged team members enthusiastically support each other and add value to other team members.  They prepare for team processes and choose to engage others in a positive manner to find solutions to issues and challenges they individually or as a team face.  They constantly seek to improve themselves for the benefit of the team and never, never, never quit.

The Four Factors of Execution
 
The following four critical success factors will insure the leadership team carries out the actions necessary to reach their designated goals.

7. Collaborates To Set Direction And Solve Problems

The power of teamwork dynamics is engaged when the leadership team members come together to focus collectively on goals, issues, challenges, and problems.  Team leaders must carefully manage the processes of team meetings in order to maximize the power of the collective knowledge and skills of the team members.  Our research indicates the most effective leadership teams include at least three but no more than six  individuals who follow a meeting methodology that is focused on dealing with issues requiring the leadership team's attention and maximizes the power of the collective knowledge and skills of the team members.  Patrick Lencioni's book "Death by Meeting" <Click here to learn more> provides excellent guidance in planning and conducting team meetings.

8. Obtains Individual Commitments

The work of a leadership team is carried out by individual members of the team.  When a team has developed a plan of actions that are necessary to achieve their goals or overcome barriers, individual members must commit to carrying out specific actions which in many cases will include actions by the individual teams they in turn lead.  The leadership team's collaborative processes must include steps to:

  • Define individual actions,
  • Gain the commitments by individual team members to complete the actions,
  • Document due dates, and
  • Establish status reporting processes. 

9. Establishes Discipline Of Personal Accountability

Team goals will usually not be realized until individual commitments are completed.  Leadership team members must embrace a discipline to complete their commitments as scheduled.  They must agree to hold each other personally accountable for completing, as scheduled, the commitments each person has made to the team.  Each leadership team member must continuously report the status of their open commitments to the team so that barriers to completion can be identified early in order to permit the leadership team leader and other team members the opportunity to deal with the issues before overall deadlines are impacted.  <Click here to learn how we help establish personal accountability>

10. Identifies and Removes Barriers

Barriers to team and individual progress will occur in every leadership team effort and must be dealt with quickly to continue progress towards the team's goals.  The team leader must continuously monitor the status of each individual's commitments and initiate barrier removal processes where appropriate.  Team-based processes for developing action plans to overcome barriers impacting individual commitments should be instilled as a part of the team's culture.  <Click here to learn more about how we help teams identify and remove barriers>

Your Leadership Teamwork Experiences
 
We would like to hear about your teamwork experiences and your thoughts on what it takes to create a powerful team driven organization.  Please visit <Contact Us> to share your thoughts and expereinces with us.

How Teamwork Dynamics Helps

Teamwork Dynamics, Inc. is dedicated to helping executive and leadership team leaders develop dynamic, team-oriented organizations that deliver powerful and sustainable results. 

 

We do that by engaging in the process of developing committed leadership team leaders who  have 1) the drive to lead a team and 2) the abilities to build consensus, take risks, and communicate effectively.  We help them create a cooperative environment that engages team members in enthusiastically delivering the outcomes expected by the team’s stakeholders. 

 

Under our coaching and mentoring processes, we help these team leaders build the skills necessary to 1) gain individual commitments through collaborative problem solving, 2) implement a discipline of personal accountability, and 3) remove barriers impeding progress.

 

Please <contact us> directly should you wish to discuss your teamwork and team leader development needs.