Building Effective and Innovative Teams

Over the last 10-15 years, and certainly now, during the pandemic, most CEOs are over-extended. They are grappling with economic and health issues, possibly busy raising funds, working from home and trying to keep the organization engaged in vital work, all while trying to address multiple ventures at the same time. By building effective teams, a CEO has additional resources to help in managing day-to-day operations. Good teams can keep things running smoothly when the CEO or other key executive is out of town, under the weather, planning new services or otherwise involved in other efforts.

Now especially, as employees are off-site and engaged in multiple scenarios at home, effective teams can keep day-to-day operations from becoming derailed. The key word here is “effective.” Building reliable, effective teams takes skill. Even if you are not the CEO, team building is important to the mission of most organizations. Many office environments work in teams. Projects are complex, involve multiple talents and affect more than one area of the organization. Teams are essential. We often brainstorm in teams. Teams help innovate as each team member brings their own ideas and strategies. Colleagues may even talk about “my team.” The way we work together has a lot to do with how we accept new ideas, how we learn to trust one another, how we innovate and even whether or not we are having fun while we work. It is often teamwork that helps us strategize and solve challenges.

As we think about brainstorming within a team and reflect on how creativity gets everyone engaged in the work, it becomes more apparent that the critical work comes when you are BUILDING teams. Throwing people together and hoping they work well as a group very rarely works. Instead, we should be consciously building teams that will accomplish tasks and work well as a whole. Ask the following questions:

  • What are you looking for when you build a team?
  • How can you help a team be more creative?
  • And most importantly, how can you help your team succeed?

These are real issues that we sometimes blindly expect managers or high performing colleagues to know how to handle. But do they? A colleague who is expected to lead a team effectively needs insight into what he/she should expect and have ammunition for overcoming difficulties.  Here are a few suggestions for building effective teams.

  • Teams work most effectively when there is harmony within the group. Who doesn’t want to work in an organization where there is mutual respect? Nurturing a team-oriented environment, built on trust and respect, is the foundation for success. The leader needs the trust of the people in the group. A team will follow guidelines based on trust and integrity. Even when there is uncertainty, trust brings us together. Having that very basic trust enables a team to work effectively, even when the boss is on the road or busy with another matter. The reader may want to take a look at our article on Trust: Ten Tips For Developing Trust.
  • Teamwork also improves when people get to know each other better. Consider organizing regular, in-person, meetings with each team. That might be harder in today’s world, where teams expand across states and even across countries. But by organizing a Zoom meeting, or at least an annual meeting where everyone meets in person, people warm up to each other and develop better relationships. If your team is self-contained in one location, even if working remotely, it’s easier to schedule an online Zoom meeting. Eventually, when work becomes more “normal,” it may be a good idea to plan an outing for the team – and one where they have to do something together is even better. You can organize a basketball game, for instance, where your team has to focus on cooperation. Or you can organize a day of reading to students in a local school. Your team shares an experience they won’t forget.
  • Actively lead – and follow through! If you demand productivity, creativity and quality work, follow through on your word. If you promise a speaker, find a good one. If you are expecting expertise, make sure your team has the knowledge it needs as a whole. If not, arrange a skill building educational opportunity on the subject or hire the expertise. Lead by example.
  • Hire as a team. And speaking of hiring, when you do have to turn to outside resources, ask your team to identify the right resource. Once committed, your team will engage in the learning environment they’ve selected. Or if finding the right resource means hiring another individual, they will look for a person they can trust – making your job easier.
  • Deal with conflict. Misunderstandings and conflict will show up somewhere down the line. Ignoring those conflicts will only cause more harm. Instead, meet them head on. Interestingly enough, conflict often leads to innovation. By sitting down with the team, discussing the situation and brainstorming as a group, good ideas often arise. Working together, employees are more motivated to find solutions. And keeping motivated is certainly not an issue if you’re solving problems and coming up with new ideas.

At Bahar Consulting, we can help your organization build effective teams. We’ll look at strengths, skill development and individual differences. We’ll examine behaviors and leadership issues. And we’ll work with teams – demonstrating the concepts and showing your organization that you can learn, innovate, grow and have fun at the same time.

Your Legacy and Success

This political season has been anything but awe inspiring. No matter which side you lean towards, the influence of our leaders seems to be lacking. It sometimes makes me wonder, what kind of legacy am I leaving – not only in my work life but in my private life too? Do you measure your legacy by the success you’ve enjoyed? Exactly what do we mean by success?

If you gave your resignation letter today at work, how would you be remembered by your colleagues? Would they still be talking about you next week, next year, or in five years? How will you be remembered? Were you the deal-closer, the hot head, the star manager, or the person who instituted a major policy initiative? It’s easy to fall into the pattern of just going to your job, putting in 8 or more hours of work, and then coming home. Giving it our best shot is very admirable. But are we capable of even more? Are we considering what influence we have on the people around us and how we can make a difference?

Taking a long term perspective. We can build a legacy at work. Good leaders plan long term goals. They’re not racing the clock to make changes overnight. Instead, they are hard at work building ethics, integrity and honesty into the workplace. These are the leaders we would choose to follow as our careers develop.

We control our own success, our own legacy. Here are a few ideas of what you can do now, in your own work environment, to create the legacy and success you want.

  1. Take Action. Rather than wait to get past a few things that are happening around you, you can be proactive. You can start to think creatively and with a purpose. Recognize that your boss doesn’t have all the answers. He or she needs your help to innovate and think outside the box. If you are three steps ahead of your team, you pave the way for others to reach their goals. You make your life about something bigger than you. You can live through the positive impact you bring to others.
  2. Make Customer Satisfaction Your Goal. It’s easy to fall into the pattern of office politics, but it’s not very fulfilling. By working to satisfy clients in the workplace – whether they are internal or external – we can derive much joy and fulfillment.
  3. Encourage Others. An employee with an enthusiastic approach to her work makes a mark that sustains her professional reputation for years to come. It’s your choice. You can bring others up to your level or you can bring them down. Can you think of others who gave you support and encouragement in the workplace? They are the ones you are happy to have known. Who will you encourage today?
  4. Create Excellence. Have you ever noticed how one person who strives for excellence influences others? Bringing excellence to the workplace means that you might have to abandon some of the things that worked for you in the past. It may mean that you move forward and serve as a role model for others. A legacy of excellence is striving to do your best every day.
  5. Offer a Different Perspective. Bringing a different perspective to your work can be helpful for others in the organization. Instead of the day-to-day focus on your work, a strategy of working toward long term goals can help you frame your work differently. The daily ups and downs are less likely to affect you because you’ve built-in a realistic timeline to reach your goals. You have a workable plan that you can count on. Your perspective is a longer term view because you look at your job not in a vacuum, but how it influences and impacts your long term plans.

Thinking about your job in terms of the legacy you leave influences everyone around you. You don’t need to be an orator or politician to make a difference. How will your colleagues remember you?

The Impact of Change

Take a quick look around your office or home and you realize that life is changing at a faster rate than ever before. Consider all the electronic devices that have become integral to our lives. Phone, tablet, computer – they’ve all changed. Many people are on phone plans now that enable a new phone every year! Plus, you may have a digital reader – perhaps even more than one!

The way we use our devices has changed too. We have apps on our phones instead of software on our computer. And many of us store our data and applications in the cloud.

Our work environment is also increasingly affected by change. Organizations change, our managers come and go and our responsibilities get shifted. We may wish that everything would stay stable for a while, but the truth is, we live in a world where change is constant.

If that’s true, how do we manage change? How do we keep some semblance of control within our work environment? First, we need to be capable of change. And secondly, we need to meet the challenge by staying effective and productive.

Working our way through change. Change happens quickly. There are no longer plateaus of stability. Instead, most of us experience a continual, never-ending series of changes. So how can you manage these changes that are ever present? Here are some of the guidelines we can use to address major change.

Start by being honest with yourself and your co-workers – more change lies ahead! In truth, most people reject change – so our job is to change the mindset of those around us. It helps to build trust with employees. One way to do that is to solicit input when considering change. Once you engage others, you have partners.

A certain amount of stress is good for us because it makes us grow and learn. Change always brings opportunity. The trick is to inspire others by empowering them. Engaging people in the change usually results in a higher adoption rate. Change is often the basis for new opportunities.

In facilitating the change process, we need to understand that everyone’s job now is to succeed in unfamiliar environments. That might mean a new job direction, new skills or new behaviors. Showing others how to have real conversations about important issues will build trust. How do we need to change in order to address the challenges we’re having?

Make sure that the right problems are being solved. If the change is going to be effective and create the desired result, we need to make sure we’re looking at the right problem.

Change has to come from the top down. Everyone has to be effectively engaged in the change process. People must be part of the change process – they must invest in the change and contribute to its success. The process of involving everyone may mean more conversations, planned workshops, regular meetings and constant communication. But planned well, change that involves everyone is more likely to “stick” and be effective.

Communicate and support. The individuals and teams leading the change process must be supported through coaching, education and facilitation. Communication has to be active and planned. A healthy sense of urgency is good, but being rushed will build distrust.

To succeed today, businesses need to think of their workplace as one of continuous movement. The more agile we are, the more likely we will act on opportunities and grow.

Do you need help facilitating change in your organization? We’d love to work with you. Visit our website at www.baharconsulting.com, or give us a call at 240-242-3349.

The Construction Financial Management Association Elects 2017-18 Executive Officers

PRINCETON, N.J. — The Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA) announced the election of the 2017-18 executive officers. The executive officer roles are the highest-ranking volunteer positions within the organization, responsible for representing the interests of more 7,800 members across North America.

Read more on the organization’s elected officers here.

Construction Labor Status in 2017

Read more about what’s expected to happen with the availability of Construction Labor in 2017. See the Bloomberg BNA interview with Asif Choudhury of Bahar Consulting here.

Asif Choudhury is also the national secretary for the Construction Financial Management Association, based in Princeton, N.J.

The success of your life coach experience or executive coaching depends on you.

It’s true. We can’t force action. We can’t force change. So how do we get anywhere with our clients? As we grew up, and maybe now sometimes with our own children, we heard statements such as “Do as I say!” But in truth, we know that unless a process is truly understood, and practiced, we don’t change.

In an effort to identify weaknesses and redundancies, we perform a Business Audit. We follow best practices to evaluate your internal processes. Once we’ve identified weaknesses, redundancies or gaps, we help resolve the issues. Best practices are identified and recorded for future success.

Marketing Consultant and Business Advisor Overview – How We Work With You

Depending upon the size of your company, we design a custom plan for you.We first talk with the owner to determine the status of the company. We create an awareness of what needs to be addressed – and then we set priorities based on discussions with you.

Depending on the scope of the project, we will look into all the departments in the company – management, sales and marketing, operations and production, technology, accounting and human resources – and any other departments within the company.

We look into processes, redundancies, leadership skills, behaviors and work environment. We help you find resolution for issues and get you and your company back on track.

Our Business Coach Questions

In the process, our inquiries can include the following:

  • What do your hiring practices look like? Do you know how to hire an employee that will be a long-time productive asset to your company?
  • At the same time, do you know how to properly fire an employee?
  • How do some of the normal processes within your company function? For example:
    • How do you pay your bills?
    • Send invoices?
    • Process Payroll?
  • Do you regularly perform Job Cost Accounting?
  • We even delve into your growth areas. How do you generate leads?
  • And when leads are generated, what is the sales process and follow-up?

As marketing consultants, our purpose here is to resolve what’s holding you back.

We work with you to help streamline your processes. Our technical skills and strategic partnerships can help you examine, change and leverage your technology to become the market leader in your field. We help with sales training and strategic marketing plans so your company grows healthfully. We work closely with you to create a thriving, driven business environment.

Please call us at 240.242.3349 for a consultation. We’d love to discuss your plans with you.