02 February 2006

Building Effective Teams

Today, The Jenius spoke at the Caribbean Software Conference, better known as CaribeSoft. Thanks to the invitation extended by Kevin Shockey, of Portal Al Exito fame.

An outline of Building Effective Teams follows:

-- Effective teams have high levels of competence, focus and energy.

-- According to Steve Hardy, of Creative Generalist fame and the object of The Jenius’ envy, you want a team to exhibit “Rule 33”: three traits that you want and three that you don’t. What you want are talented individuals, clearly defined roles and responsibilities and hard work. What you don’t want are idiots (“leave them to the competition”), lazy folks and prima donnas.

-- When building a team, The Jenius looks for people who exhibit certain traits or tendencies, such as:

-- Confidence: Both in themselves and as a feeling they inspire, leading to trust, the single most important characteristic for creating an effective team.
-- Optimism: Pessimists are no more realistic than optimists, and optimists are easier to deal with. A team made up of only optimists will eventually derail, but it will go farther than a team solely composed of pessimists.
-- Conflict: The process of growth requires conflict; avoiding it dooms a team (marriage, company, etc.) to ultimate failure. You want a mix of different people, for that way, conflict will polish the path to achieving goals. But if conflict becomes the goal, the team is doomed.
-- Opportunities: Looking for problems to solve is narrowing the team’s focus to only the “here and now”. Looking for opportunities beyond problems leads to bigger horizons.
-- No: An effective team says “no” to wasting time in excessive planning, theorizing, unacceptable behavior, distractions and unethical behavior. It goes back to dealing with conflict: many times, the only good answer is a rock-steady “no”.
-- Unity: Seems obvious, but out on the field, in the market or in front of the customer, the team is always a team. Crack that wall of powerful unity and you destroy the greatest potential of the team.
-- Tenacity: Effective teams don’t happen overnight, nor do great successes. Tenacity combines patience and open-minded determination to stay the course. Stubborness refuses to see anything but the goal, making no changes; tenacity sees the big picture, makes adjustments and keeps going.
-- Simplicity: Effective teams eschew complexity to keep things simple. They focus on the basics and on doing them well. By being simple, they preserve the ability to adapt to opportunities and use complexity to make things happen. Then they simplify those to make them stronger.

And how do you remember these “Jenius Criteria”? Easy: COCONUTS.

Yeah. It’s Brilliant. Thank you.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

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