Building effective teams that work together well and impact the goal and each other positively doesn’t just happen without a plan. Teams need certain tools, strategies, and tactics to help them avoid missing deadlines, experiencing interpersonal conflict, and more. When you understand what teams need to work together effectively, you can set your teams up for success and you will begin to see that team work makes dreams work.
Recently, I had the opportunity to check off one of my bucket list items. Little did I know that in order to achieve this dream a team was needed. I figured I would show up, brace myself and up, up and away. You probably guessed it, my goal was Hot Air Ballooning. My husband and I originally wanted to go about 20 years ago when my mother in law was here from Australia. Those plans didn’t pan out then. So, when we had the opportunity to go for an early morning balloon flight, we jumped at the chance.
The Captain had an amazing team ready to get us in the air, however, he invited us to help, which we quickly agreed to. Three couples were assembled to help, as the balloon began to fill with air. The wind shifted and the top of the balloon accidentally opened, which released the warm air. Slight terror went through our minds, as the Captain asked for all hands to grab the balloon and hold it out so the fire wouldn’t touch the sides. Our team came together and we made it into the air. We had a 14 mile flight and enjoyed smooth sailing. As the basket touched down, the ground crew was waiting to pack it all up and do it all again another day.
This example really made me think about how teams are so important for many reasons. In John C. Maxwell’s book “Team Work Makes the Dream Work“, where the idea of achieving your dreams really takes a team of people you trust and are willing to invest in your dream. Having a purpose begins the process of building a team.
A Purpose – Dream a Little
Why the team exists and what the results are supposed to be are especially important for each team member to comprehend. Understanding the meaning behind why the team exists is a vital part of building an effective team that can work together for a common goal. A good leader is needed who can help the entire team understand the vision and hoped-for impact they’re trying to create.
I the above example, I saw the Captain really take control of the situation, when the wind shifted. He had his team doing what they could to correct, but he also enlisted others when he needed. We were all there with the same goal and would do whatever it took to achieve the dream of flying. Our purpose was concrete and there were no doubts as to what needed to be done. Keeping your eye on the vision and purpose really does help your team work makes dreams work.
A System and Process
It’s hard to do anything efficiently without a system and process that helps drive the projects along. Being organized to run smoothly requires software, tools, and an understanding of developing procedures to get things done most efficiently. For example, potential bottlenecks are noted when roles are assigned, and a process is created to avoid them.
Team members need to know what they need to do. The Balloon team knew the process of getting the balloon filled with hot air. What I didn’t realize, was that hot air balloons are huge and in order to fill them up with air, they must be placed flat on the ground. Cold air is then blown into the balloon and then a special burner at the mouth of the balloon, which heats the captured air. As we all know, hot air rises, and that is what happens to the balloon. If the fire touches the fabric of the balloon, it can melt. Watching the process really brought to mind, these guys really trust each other, which is another aspect of teams I will mention.
Mutual Respect & Trust For Each Team Member
Everyone on the team needs to trust and respect each other, but they also need to do the same for themselves. They trust their skills and those of the people on the team. When this happens, no one is
second-guessing everything without a solution as the team makes an impact. Everyone has a role to play in the organization.
Each member of the balloon team had a very important role in both getting off the ground and landing. I watched them take control of their responsibilities and follow through successfully. They indicated respect for their respective roles. One thing I never really thought of is you can’t really steer a balloon. Being about to utilize the winds at certain altitudes certainly helps land in a field. As a temporary part of the Balloon team, we all trusted the Captain with our lives as we enjoyed the trip. As we were floating in the basket over 14 miles of Sonoma County, the Captain had extreme trust in his ground crew as they scoped out a place to land. Communicating with the crew in a clear and concise was crucial in teams and we observed this team doing this throughout our time with them.
Clear Communication Between Parties
An understanding of the entire communication process is helpful to all group leaders and members. Having a straightforward way to get messages to each other and a sense of everyone’s roles helps projects get done faster and more expertly.
Defined Roles and Responsibilities
When you take the time to define the roles and responsibilities in all teams, it makes it easier for each person to know what to do. It will positively impact the group because it eliminates questions about who is doing what and who to ask about certain tasks. People like knowing what’s expected of them.
Effective Delegation In Team Work
While this goes back to the designated roles, so each person knows their responsibility, if the leader isn’t good at delegating each task and discussing all the steps that must be done to finish a project, something might get missed. Having a team to help you will begin to realize that team work makes dreams work.
A Measure for Success
Knowing how to track and measure your team’s actions is a wonderful way to motivate your team and learn how well things are going. If everyone on the team can track the progress being made individually, as well as a whole you can see what even the smallest contribution does to the result.
When we touched down, I realized we had a very successful day. We toasted a drink of sparkling wine. Our Captain told us the story of the first hot air balloon ride…
“On September 19, 1783 Pilatre De Rozier, a scientist, launched the first hot air balloon called ‘Aerostat Reveillon’. The passengers were a sheep, a duck and a rooster and the balloon stayed in the air for a grand total of 15 minutes before crashing back to the ground.
The first manned attempt came about 2 months later on November 21st, with a balloon made by 2 French brothers, Joseph and Etienne Montgolfier. The balloon was launched from the centre of Paris and flew for a period of 20 minutes. The birth of hot air ballooning!!!”
Finally, it helps if your teams build relationships that enable them to enjoy the work they do together. In the basket, we really developed a relationship with the others and the Captain. Relationship is so important in teams and we all bonded as we looked down on the ground at 300 feet in the air.
When you need to work with and spend time with other people, it doesn’t help for everything to be serious all the time. Instead, find ways to build relationships by taking breaks, enjoying a meal together, and participating in team-building activities such as a weekend camping or skiing trip.
Action Steps: Think about a team you’ve been on in the past, for either work or play. What worked? What didn’t? Now, imagine the team you would build as a leader. What would it be like? Write about it and reach out to me to share.
About the Author
I am Kathy Denise Hicks, Author, Personal Trainer, and Corrective Exercise Specialist and I would love to connect with you to help you achieve your fitness and health goals. Correcting muscular imbalances can really help you feel better, look younger and be happier. If you are looking to get moving, feel more energy, get out of pain, and lose a few pounds, I have a program that can help. My 14 Day Workout Trial, will give you an idea of the classes I offer.