Building a winning team

The depression of another failed World Cup bid by the England football team has, I think, been lessened this time around by the crushing inevitability of it all. From the warm up games, to the debacle of squad selection, through the performances in the group, the outbursts about the tough, prison like camp and the tactical ineptitude at critical stages of matches, it was clear it was going to come to a crashing end at some point.

Creating the right environment for a team to perform takes some planning and a lot of effort. The England team have the best paid manager in world football, a star-studded line-up and all the trappings afforded to movie stars and musicians but  failed because they weren’t sufficiently motivated and committed to winning.

There were crucial things missing.  And, the same things are often missing in teams in workplaces like yours. As marketers we have to get the best from multi-site, multi-language, multi-discipline colleagues and business partners. So, if  like Fabio, you’re struggling to get the best out of people in your line of work (and remember no man is an island), consider these five top tips:

1. Create the right environment – team members need to have some responsibility and should feel that they can propose and try different approaches from time to time.

2. Remember no idea is a bad idea – encourage input and encourage problem sharing. The best teams consistently collaborate and innovate. Build in various ways of soliciting feedback as some people naturally shy away in group situations.

3. Understand the needs of individuals – one managerial size doesnt fit all when managing a team. The autocrat for example will frustrate the experienced. Make sure you are aware of who needs the carrot and who needs the stick, who needs some hand holding and who needs letting fly.

4. Establish team roles and responsibilities and incentivize based on delivery – some team members operate best on the big picture, others are meticulous, others organised, others 100% efficient but lacking a little polish. using assessment models like Belbin can assist. Understanding where skills lie allows for effective harnessing and also helps drive  ongoing development.

5. Ultimately, recognize that the team embodies the values and attitude of its leader. If the team isn’t working, it has to come back to the leader’s door. Return to the objectives of the team, what needs to be done and where the strengths and weaknesses lie. Everything can be improved…unless you are project managing a team on The Apprentice in which case, no chance.

    As for Fabio, he isn’t the first to fail with England’s so called Golden generation, perhaps the causes are more engrained.



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