The 5 fundamentals of building great teams that really work


Whether you are already a leader of a team, or an emerging leader in your organisation, there are 5 fundamental areas you need to understand, establish, and embed in your teams as the basis of building a team that really works.

Teams that really work are crystal clear on their purpose and they can state their purpose, anywhere, anytime, to anyone, with passion. They know why they exist as a team, the value they create and the people they serve - all three things build the over-arching purpose of a team.

Teams that really work have connection. They are connected to the people in their teams and beyond. They are connected to their role in the team and the organisation. They are connected to the bigger picture. They know where they fit, the value they add, and the special sauce that only they bring. They are connected to their customer, and the people that they serve, everyday.

Teams that really work have clear direction. They know the end game, they know the vision - they can see it, feel it, and taste it - and they know what they need to do to get there. When teams have a clear direction, they are more engaged, more productive, and deliver more meaningful outcomes, with enthusiasm, and, with intention.

Teams that really work have the right conditions in place that enable them to work productively, creatively and with deep commitment. They take ownership and accountability for their work, and they do it because they love it! (I know, love is a strong word, and a little gooey to use in business book, but seriously, if people are going to work for a third of their day, don’t you want them to love what they do?)

Underpinning teams that really work is Your Leadership. Meaning-full leadership. There are three core fundamentals of Meaningful Leadership - Authenticity, Empathy and Communication. Or, simply put, how we show up, the care we demonstrate for our people, and the messages we send. Every. Single. Day.

These are the fundamentals that we, as Leaders, need to have in place before we start adding more to our team make up. We need to get back to basics, and ensure these fundamentals are in place, ingrained, and understood. Everything else that gets added on top is easier when you have the fundamentals in place. These fundamentals are like the teams underpants - you don’t often see them, but without them, we can feel a bit loose!
When we establish and embed these strong foundations in our teams, they can connect, create and deliver more meaningful outcomes and deliver greater impact in their day to day work.

Whether you are building a new team from scratch, rebuilding a team, have a newly restructured team, a project team, a sports team, or a team where something just isn’t quite working, establishing or revisiting these 5 fundamentals will allow you to put the building blocks in place for your team to really work.  Leaders who take the time to be deliberate and intentional about building their teams foundations, give themselves a significant head start in the race to a committed, engaged and productive workforce.

This book is essentially like getting a new vehicle on the road. It’s the ‘pre-inspection checklist’ for a team, before it gets let loose on doing it’s job. The pre-inspection on a vehicle looks at ‘is it the type of vehicle it says it is?, do all the bits function and work as they are intended?, does it have a full tank of gas ready to go?’ Our teams need a pre-inspection checklist too, to make sure we are road worthy before driving out of the yard.

This book is designed to give you, the leader, the tools, the tips, techniques for putting these fundamentals in place, so you can build teams that really work, bring out the best in your people, and deliver value to your customers. It has checklists at the end of each section, to make it easy for you to action, and the order in which to work through them.

This is a simple and to the point book. I’ve taken a ‘Mark Twain’ approach to my writing of “Don’t use a five-dollar word when a fifty-cent one will do”. There are no big fancy words, that you need to stop and Google, or are left wondering ‘what does that actually mean?’. You do not need an English Literature degree to read this book. Just simple, easy to follow advice, spelt out crystal clear, so there is no wondering ‘what the actual heck?’ is she talking about?
Building the foundations for a great team couldn’t be made more simple than this…. (for the record, ‘Simple’ does not necessary mean easy.)

I also recognise that leaders are often time poor. And, some people are not big readers, and because of that, and because I want this book to be accessible to as many people as possible, I've split the chapters up into the long and the short of it.
For the time poor or not big readers among us, I’ve made it easy for you by providing a short version. The short very is a one pager, at the start of each chapter. It’s a pretty blunt, no fluff, no frills, no bullsh*t version. It sometimes reads like you've got zero feelings that could get offended, but that what ‘short versions’ in this book are. Short. Not 'short and sweet', more like ‘short and clear’. If you want short and sweet, you’ll need to read while eating a cupcake - that is as close to sugar coating as the short versions get.

If you read the short version, and still want more, you can read the long version. It’s not really that long, just has some relevant stories for the ‘right brainers’ and more facts, more data for the lefties among us, to cement and validate why it’s important. The long version is a slightly softer side of my writing personality.... So, soft and long, versus hard and short. Read as you see fit.

So that, in a nutshell, is what you can expect from this book. And of course, you can expect to learn. I guess the only question left is ‘Do you care about bringing out the best in your people and building a team that really works?’ If not, stop reading - this is not the book for you. If yes, read on leader! Get started, get stuck in, turn the pages, do the reading, the thinking, the exercises, answer the questions, and keep going until you have built your team that really works.

I’d say ‘Good luck’, but luck has nothing to do with it. Leadership does.
Leadership has everything to do with it.