Principle 6:
Unstoppable Companies Through Teamwork

The successful entrepreneurs demonstrated and continually encouraged teamwork as the route to success. This encouragement filters through the company's employees, creating an appreciation and understanding of each other's roles. It is this strong sense of teamwork and focus that the entrepreneurs cited as the basis from which superior customer satisfaction is achieved and growth beyond the brick wall is made possible. It is necessary to see that everyone is working in the same direction rather than working independently. Successful entrepreneurs said that teamwork is a way of getting the employees to feel they are a part of the company, not observers. It is a way of keeping a culture of smallness as the company gets bigger.

MAXIMS

  1. Use teams to align people toward common goals
  2. Scale the team to match the problem
  3. Cross train for team readiness
  4. Use teams to beat down turf wars
  5. Use teams to build mutual respect - a team value
  6. Build teams one person at a time
  7. Reward team results to prove you value the team

Maxim 1: Use the Team to Align People Toward a Common Goal.

The power of individuals can be levered through teams. Successful entrepreneurs say that it is essential for the entire company to be focused in a single direction. They build teams to create a single, concerted effort. Individuals on the team reinforce one another. As the company grows and the number of employees increases, day- to-day job responsibilities can cause people to lose sight of the main goal. By encouraging and facilitating teamwork, successful entrepreneurs help their employees point themselves in the right direction. Successful entrepreneurs know that interdepartmental coordination and cooperation is critical to get the entire company over the brick wall. Building effective teams means breaking the barriers of thoughts and responsibilities so that employees work together to achieve this objective.

Maxim 2: Scale the Team to Match the Problem.

Different problems require different approaches. Successful entrepreneurs recognize the need to tailor teams, their size, scope of responsibility, and their composition, to the particular situation at hand. There is no cookie-cutter special team that can address every issue a company faces as it grows. There must be flexibility and a creativeness to match the team to the problem.

Maxim 3: Cross-Train For Team Readiness.

Effective teams are not groups of people isolated in each department. They penetrate the organization with no regard for departmental lines. Successful entrepreneurs recognize the value of flexibility and extend the concept to the training of their employees by insisting on cross-training. To successful entrepreneurs, cross-training allows people to cover for each other, it creates tactical readiness, it instills a sense of understanding about what other people in the company do, and it helps the employees see where they fit into the bigger picture. Building a cross-trained network within the company creates a solidarity among the employees that serves as an essential catalyst for growth.

Maxim 4: Use Teams to Beat Down Turf Wars.

Conflict is a natural part of human interaction. In order to evoke maximum performance and contribution from their employees, successful entrepreneurs recognize that this conflict must be dealt with. They use teams to put out interdepartmental fires and to eliminate "battle lines". They cultivate synergism within and between teams and actively intervene to eliminate all antagonistic behavior. Cooperation is essential for effective teamwork.

Maxim 5: Use Teams to Build Mutual Respect -- A Team Value.

People will not work well together if they do not respect their fellow employees. As successful entrepreneurs build teams, they build a value system along with it. Mutual respect is a critical team value. Employees learn consideration for each other by working together, toward a common goal. They learn respect from how the entrepreneur treats them. Successful entrepreneurs recognize that they are the role models for interpersonal relating in the sense that his or her actions set the tone for intra-team relationships. Mutual respect is an attitude that must be deliberately developed to generate effective teams, and it is simultaneously a natural consequence of effective teams.

Maxim 6: Build teams one person at a time.

Although they purposefully build teams, successful entrepreneurs are very aware of the fact that teams are made up of individuals with unique personalities and egos. Different people have different motivations and need different types of encouragement to perform well. Successful entrepreneurs carefully hand-pick individuals who are best suited for the team's task, and then groom the team to maximize every member's potential. In the process of developing the team, these entrepreneurs do not hesitate to intervene in the group dynamics to make sure that each person is contributing.

Maxim 7: Reward team results to prove you value the team.

All of the motivation and encouragement that the previous maxims have called for must be accompanied with a reward system for team accomplishments. Successful entrepreneurs build and maintain unstoppable teams by rewarding the team for positive results. People need to know that their contributions are valued and that they will be duly compensated for their efforts - in the form of special recognition, wages, or some other reward. Rewards play a critical role in motivating team members to cooperate and to be fully committed to company objectives. Successful entrepreneurs use rewards to prove that they value the team and that they recognize its accomplishments.

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