By William Singleton -

This may be a prevailing topic but we believe it’s an important one.  In the past we have considered components to successful team building; clearly defined goals, individual accountability, trust, communication (effective) and recognition.   This article will build on this premise because it represents the core to creating a team.  Building a great team requires strict adherence to this premise along with a commitment to having the right people on your team filling the right roles.

Let’s assume that you have a great team.  You’ve got the right people doing their job better than you could have imagined.  Everyone in the group is clear on what their responsibilities are and does them with passion.  If a mistake is made amongst the team it’s quickly acknowledge corrected and steps implemented to reduce the likelihood of it happening in the future.  The general work atmosphere is refreshing, people get along well.  Communication couldn’t be better; in fact, one would say that within your team there is over communication, everyone knows what’s going on; from the office staff to the cage wash.  And it’s with great pride that you have implemented a recognition program that makes individuals within the team and the team as a whole feels valued and appreciated.

Well that was easy!

Now the rub -   How do you keep it great?  It is no small accident when greatness is achieved on any team, maintaining a team at a high level of effectiveness and efficiency is equally no small task and maybe a bit of a miracle.  Should you be so fortunate to have built or been a part of a great team that has sustained its greatness over many years than I suggest you have at least on reason to most grateful.

This next series of articles will be devoted to this topic of maintaining great teams.  I will expound on what I have learned from my observation of many teams and from which I have learned from Jim Collins author of How the Mighty Fall and Built to Last.   By considering how teams fail, we can learn from the mistakes of others and choose an alternate and better course.  Here are the 5 stages of a failing team we will explore:

  1.  Arrogance born out of rapid success
  2. Over Reaching – Building too quickly upon your success
  3. Failure to acknowledge drifts and deviations in your processes
  4. Grasping for salvation: There’s a problem and it’s Big!
  5. Death of a Team – The world no longer needs what you have to offer.

Just writing that is sobering!  It’s my hope that you have a great team.   That you go to bed on Sunday evening looking forward to the upcoming work week.  Even if that AALAC program description is due, the PIs are calling for you head because the per diems were raised last week ( 1st time in 10 years), you have several key staff away on holiday and it just feels like it’s time for a USDA visit.  And with all of that going on you can look forward to the work week because you have great people around you and together the team will get through it all continuing do what they do best.


AuthorCaroline Thompson