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Culture of Success: Business Jenga

We want to give a shout-out to one of the main reasons behind our success as a company: our teams. About a year and a half ago, we realized that our company wasn’t so little anymore, and we needed to figure out exactly what structure we wanted to embrace to accommodate our rapid growth.

It became clear pretty quickly that the team approach would work best for us for several reasons:

  • We naturally organized that way

  • We worked better when we could put our heads together

  • Mike recognizes micromanaging isn’t the best thing for his people or himself

  • Some of the most successful companies we want to model ourselves after are based on a team structure

So, with that in mind, we went to work and did our research. Now, over a year later, we want to share how it’s been going and the top 5 things we’ve learned.

5. Having roles within the teams is essential

Teamwork: how to optimize your team structure

While researching team structure in other companies, we came upon several that championed the idea of an absolute hands-off policy for success. Any sense of management was self-directed or non-existent. While this may work for some companies, it wasn’t ideal for our situation.

Teams are certainly free to self-manage, but in almost every team, roles had to be specified in order for productivity to continue. The marketing team was a prime territory for the additional definition. Having everyone running around trying to do everything was chaotic and ineffective. To correct the issue, we identified each person’s strengths and assigned duties per that role. Now we run like a well-oiled machine, and it’s made not only our lives better, but the execution of our services better as well.

4. Natural leaders will assert themselves

One of the best advantages to having teams is the natural leadership that emerges from individuals. It’s easy to collectively decide to do something, but seeing who steps up to the plate time and time again to actually get the job done will reveal who talks the talk and who walks the walk. These are the people that want and can handle the extra work. The future is bright for these work horses.

3. Gain camaraderie and lose competition

In a team structure, you lose middle management…if you consider that a loss. What you gain is far more important. In lieu of people trying to promote themselves at the expense of others or manipulate a system that is finite in who can succeed and how, you gain people working together to help each other put out the best work they can. Everyone is working to the same end: make the company look good because it makes them look good rather than competing for a single spot as number one.

2. New ideas come from collaboration

It’s pretty amazing the things that happen when people get together and discuss ideas. You not only solve the problem addressed, you come up with the best possible solutions that no one person could have come up with. On top of that, new ideas will be built out of the collective brainstorming sessions. Everyone benefits not only from hearing the input of others but from having their ideas heard and critiqued. The casual practices of sharing, listening, accepting criticism, and even presenting will reap benefits for the individuals’ skills as well as the company overall.

1. Teams provide a stronger foundation than individuals

When you look at the structure of your company, it’s natural to look up. Like gazing at a tall building, trying to see who or what is at the top is an innate part of our curiosity. However, what goes largely ignored is the solid foundation they are built on. If that bottom and middle are weak, you’re likely to see that top come crashing down fast. Similarly, the structure of a company needs a solid foundation; teams provide it better than individuals. Rather than relying on one person for an essential component of maintaining the structure, you have a team of people. The team is fluid. Should one person from the team leave, there is plenty of stability left. You’re not left teetering like a Jenga tower balanced on the one block you know has to move eventually. Moving our structure to be team-based has been a primary element to our success formula. It may not work for everyone in the same way, but look around and ask yourself if there’s some opportunity to change the status quo and create a more stable, more friendly, less competitive work environment that benefits everyone.

Teams are a stronger foundation than individuals

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