8 ways to build a strong team

Vivek Khare, Director – IT,, shares the art and science of building a high-performing team that lasts. By Shweta Gandhi

“People are the most important factor in any business—whether they are customers or employees, they are the key to success,” says Vivek Khare, Director – IT, “In my 20+ years of experience, I have met hundreds of customers, employees, vendors and many others only to realise that if the right people are placed in the right position at the right time, success will not take time. Needless to say, for any CIO, it is critical to build a strong team to be successful.” Awarded as a Data Centre and Infrastructure Icon at CIO Power List 2016, Vivek believes it’s crucial CIOs build strong teams to achieve unmatched success. He tells us about eight effective ways to do so.

1. Look for diversity in thought, skill set and experience
“Hire the complimenting skill set and experience, instead of a matching skill set and experience. We all love like-minded people, but success follows when diversity of thoughts work in harmony to find solutions or ideas that were not thought of before. It is possible to do so only if you hire people that have the experience and skill set that you or your existing team does not have.”

2. Hire people smarter than you
“If you hire people as smart as you, their potential is limited to your level. But if you hire people smarter than you, the bar is raised to a different level altogether and the team is challenged to match the same.”

3. Don’t limit your team
“You hire the best in order to get success and then you expect them to follow your instructions word by word. This is a guaranteed recipe for failure. You hired the best brains so that you could leverage their experience, ability to solve problems, innovate and find solutions, but out of default and long-held practices, you ended up limiting them. Give people opportunities to observe, think, strategise, be creative, make mistakes, and learn, and they will do wonders. Taking care of your employees has many other aspects, and a very important component of care is respect—respect for an individual’s intellect. So listen to people, try to understand why they are saying or doing something, what is not being said but is being seen in your team member’s actions. Are you able to identify the underlying cause of an action? Did you become a part of that diverse idea and add value to it? Have you appreciated the efforts?”

4. Take team bonding to another level
“If you look closely, you will find every successful team has an unsaid understanding, a bond that brings them together, that takes them to unimaginable heights. Bonding is created over time and over situations. If you can’t wait for situations to take place, create them, simulate them, put your teams in them and see how they evolve. Team building exercises, team outings, picnics or even having meals together has an amazing impact on team bonding. Once people bond, their energy and enthusiasm grows exponentially, their ability to create grows to unbelievable levels. Bonding takes you beyond work; you would know if somebody is stressed or not performing because there is a situation at home—perhaps you or somebody in the team can help, guide, or find a solution. After all, we as leaders need to remove the roadblocks our teams face; so find out if the roadblock is official or personal and take it out. It is just like opening the gates of a dam—the moment the block is removed, the potential unfolds.”

5. Actively brainstorm with them
“When working on a problem or task, ask yourself: Do I really know the best solution for the task at hand? Why not sit with my team to discuss the issue and see if their solution is better than mine? When teams are formed and given a purpose, they brainstorm beyond the norm and thereafter the performance starts shining. When many brains think on a solution together, they make it successful without any other push, so why not involve them in finding the ways to success?”

6. Ensure a perfect mix of creativity and practicality
“It is important that complimenting ideas in the team is set appropriately. Often there are creative solutions on one hand and practical solutions on the other. As leaders, we need to make a decision about which solution is the best in a particular situation. Or, do we need to strike a balance between both to find a mid way? Figure out who is a creative thinker in the team and who is an analytical thinker and make them work together in sync rather than having them work against each other. Make sure that both sides are heard properly and the path found is agreed upon by both. It will enable the team to work in harmony and before coming to you they themselves would have evaluated all aspects of the proposal.”

7. Have open communication
“The best environment for communication is when people know that no matter how small or silly or weird a thought they put forward, it will be heard with respect and evaluated with due diligence. As leaders we need to make sure that everybody in the team feels empowered to speak out. Many times disasters have been prevented when the thoughts of even a junior member were given weightage and consideration. If team members have confidence that they will be heard without prejudice, they will bring new, innovative, revolutionary ideas to the table that will benefit everyone. We just need to ensure that no matter how introvert or extrovert team members are, they communicate effectively. They should be empowered to challenge even the most established norms.”

8. Always, always, stand by your team
“There are good times and then there are not so good times. Like a family, a team needs to stay together at all times. Most importantly, we need to fight for our teams when it matters the most. It may be for appraisals, promotions, recognition of team members or saving them from office dynamics and pressures—whatever it is, we need to do it all to protect what we have built so far. The statement that ‘Together Everyone Achieves More’ is not only a slogan, but it is the truth that plays in the background of every successful team.” 

Categories:   Lifestyle, Work Buzz


  • Posted: July 28, 2016 10:51


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