Teaching Teamwork

If you’re managing a team of employees, it’s absolutely crucial that all members trust each other, help each other, understand each other’s roles, and can work together on projects effectively. Teams are comprised of people, each with their own personality, pet peeves, leadership styles, and quirks. Below are some ways you can make sure all your teammates are working in harmony.Alan Rasof Teaching Teamwork

Set Clear Goals & Get Their Buy-in | An integral part of working as a team is making sure all members are moving in the same direction towards the same end goal. Invite your team to join the negotiations for the target — since they’ll be doing much of the legwork, it’s important that they feel ownership of the trajectory. Not only will they be grateful for a seat at the table, but it heightens the buy-in, or each team member’s personal investment in making sure the plans come to fruition. Whereas a lack of buy in can be the death of the best plans, having that buy in can help determine that everyone is individually motivated to go the distance.  

Hold Each Member Accountable | Once everyone has agreed to the goals of the team and what it will take the team to reach them, you now need gentle but firm mechanisms for all the teammates to hold each other accountable. You can use a plethora of apps to remind everyone when work is due to whom. You can also drive home the interdependency of the team — if one person misses a deadline, everyone’s work comes to a grinding screeching halt. To that end, everyone wins when everyone’s doing well.

Give Credit where Credit is Due | When someone does something especially well or makes a suggestion that turns out to be fruitful, thank them and acknowledge them publicly. Calling attention to your team members’ specific contributions will not only boost that individual’s willingness to keep striving for greatness, but it will also encourage others to do the same. All too often, managers take credit for the work of the people under them, which robs people of agency and personal pride. But acknowledging the hard work and ingenuity of your teams and of each member will pay off in the long run.

Take Personality Tests Together | If there are some tensions among your team or some seemingly unexplainable rubs, it may be worthwhile to bring in an executive coach or test administrator to conduct a personality test like the Workplace Big 5, the DiSC assessment, or the standard Myers Briggs test. That way, everyone can be on the same page about what makes some people tick, the priorities of each person, and how two people of entirely different personality types can still work together in harmony.


Best Business Apps

Alan Rasof Best Business AppsTechnology has proven both a blessing and a curse in today’s business world. While it has made getting information and communication lightyears easier, it has also proved an insufferable distraction, a time-suck, and an inefficient source of headaches and confusion about plans and deadlines. Email has been the main culprit of this epidemic, as teams routinely use emails in place of a phone call or face-to-face meetings in some cases, and in others, they use their emails as chat or IM services, thereby gunking up people’s inboxes for unnecessary two-word responses. If you’re looking for some apps to keep your team cohesive and on the same page besides email, here are some ideas for you.


Slack | If your team needs an organized chat service, Slack has been waiting for you. Unlike Skype, which was designed for personal and recreational use, Slack was designed with teams and businesses in mind. Within the app, which works both on desktop and on mobile, teams can relegate discussions to certain relevant “channels” and carry out private chats as well so that small discussions don’t take up valuable inbox space.


Trello | To keep your team all on the same page with the progress of certain activities, especially when there are lots of moving pieces that need to coalesce in the end, Trello will do the legwork for you. The app is organized into virtual piles of cards that each have to-do lists, color-coded member assignments, and ways to chart progress that everyone can access.


Boomerang for Gmail | When emails are necessary, it’s important for the sender to ensure they get a response from the recipient before moving forward. Boomerang installs directly into Gmail accounts to alert senders if their emails have gone unresponded to. That way, the sender can either resend the message or pick up the phone. Boomerang is invaluable for making email more efficient again.


When I Work | This app was designed to meet all your scheduling needs. Email chains, unread texts, and quickly-changing information are the bane of managers’ existence when trying to schedule workers for their shifts or for finding meetings times with clients. When I Work is a comprehensive platform that makes scheduling and communication easy as pie.


Toggl | Keeping track of time spent on a project or assignment has never been easier with Toggl. The site/chrome extension makes it simple for workers to track their labor and charge or adjust their time budgets accordingly. It’s transparent, and it lives right on the Chrome extension bar.


Ways To Improve Company Culture

Company Culture Word Cloud

No matter the size of your company, its industry or your budget, certain environmental and behavioral changes are almost guaranteed to improve your team’s creative output, attract the right talent and ultimately move your company beyond what you can even imagine today.

Build an inspired workspace.

It all starts with the workspace. In today’s design-centric, user-focused world, companies have to move quickly and innovate constantly and that certainly won’t happen from behind a bland cubicle wall and dull office light.

Large open spaces, cozy living room setups, big windows, inviting kitchens and convenient facilities like showers and bicycle parking are what’s in. But even if you aren’t building an office from scratch, adding a lot of whiteboards and markers as well as providing your team with beautiful computers and other technology products will help give space to the outpouring of their creative juices.

Grant flexible work hours.

While stable work hours make for organizational order, the creative muse cannot be simply willed into being exactly from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. People have different rhythms that make them more or less productive during certain hours.

For some people, the best ideas come in the middle of the night or during a long lunch when the mind is relaxed. In the technology world, for example, it’s commonplace for developers to be more productive during the quieter “after-hours.” They might choose to sleep in later and work well into the wee hours of the night.

If you want to encourage productivity and inspiration, allow flexible work hours for members of your team. Let them do their work when they will do it best. Flexibility also attracts a creative talent pool of people with a variety of interests and commitments in life.

Remember the fun factor.  

Encourage employees to spend time together outside of the office. Plan events and social gatherings for employees. You can even incentivize your employees to reach a goal and reward them with a company happy hour. The more employees get to know and like each other, the happier they will be to come in to the office and work, in turn producing better results for your company!

Build a diverse team.

Many creative business owners often complain that they have trouble finding good staff people. Perhaps what they’re trying to find is a replica of themselves. They wrongly assume that having a professional twin would double their business overnight.

Carbon copies aren’t the key to creating an innovative company. Instead, build a diverse team whose strength lies in its members’ range of work experience, education and cultural backgrounds that play off of one another.

Put the team first.

To have a truly creative company culture, your staff has to be your biggest priority. While you may think that your customers should always come first, take a cue from powerful CEOs like Virgin Group’s Richard Branson and Zappos’ Tony Hsieh, who have proved that putting the team first makes customers and even shareholders happy.