Secret – Successful Business Teams Are Not Built Playing Golf

When I used to work in corporate America we used to have team building exercises during our meetings. These exercises were considered to be so important by upper management that they were mandated into every meeting. The goal was to bring the teams together so that they executed the plans with a sense of purpose; the team would rise or fall as a collective.

In my experience the team building exercises usually consisted of golf, bowling, or another event that was a “team event” in name only. The sports chosen were usually embraced by an enthusiastic few leaving the others bored and unengaged. The end result was a shared experience, but not one that built a strong team ready to seize opportunities and overcome obstacles. Instead a team in name only was built.

The Secret Trait To Successful Business Teams
Successful teams – in sports, business, the military, etc. – share one common trait or gene: they care about the other teammates’ success. Individuals who are part of successful teams know that their goals, desires, and dreams can only be achieved if they help the rest of team meet succeed. Everyone possess this gene/trait inside of himself or herself, it just has to be tapped.

How successful teams achieve this bond is through a shared collective experience. This collective experience is one that demonstrates to the other teammates the strengths and weaknesses of the individual members. Typically everyone starts at the same level of knowledge – there are no ringers – and the team faces unknown challenges that they must work together to overcome. In the military it is the initial training and common shared misery of the mud, lack of sleep, and obstacle course.

3 Ways You Can Tap The Common Experience Gene
In business your team most likely is not going to go running through mud or climbing over obstacles to get their shared experience. Then again… why not?

Golf does not build a successful team. In fact most individual skills – while learned and/or experienced in a group setting – do not build successful teams. Only events that make individuals work together, learn together, and overcome obstacles together will build stronger teams.

So the next time you are planning a team building exercise for your business meeting, why not give these a try:

  • Learn A New Skill. Whatever you choose as the new skill should have practical applications and if done improperly real consequences. A great one is learning how cook as a group, which involves communication, delegation, teamwork, chain of command, and listening skills. Sure you might have a budding gourmet chef in your team, but the reality is that most people only know the basics. The goal is to cook a meal for everyone. Get it right and you’ve got good food. Get it wrong and well…

  • Overcome A Problem With Many Possible Answers. These exercises usually have a stated goal and limited resources to achieve it. While there might be one best solution, there are many other solutions that could possibly work. A particular exercise I enjoyed was building a boat out of cardboard and duct tape. To be successful the boat had to pass a strength test on dry land first and then go around a buoy and back in the water: all under a time pressure. Teams that prioritized tasks, discussed possible designs, and staffed their boats correctly made it. Others that did not sank.

  • Scavenger Hunt. Break your team into smaller groups making sure to split apart any cliques you may have. What makes this a great exercise is the element of time pressure, getting everything correct on the list, and great stories everyone will have when they return about their successes and failures during their hunt. If built correctly a great scavenger hunt will have goals that will force everyone to stretch him or herself to achieve them.

Put Down The Clubs And Build Teams
What is great about the exercises above is they require your teams to work together to succeed. One person alone cannot do everything. Success means that everyone has to work together as a team.

While you may learn more about the three other chaps in your foursome on the golf course, in the end it is the individual who must swing the club or make the putt. It does not take a team to overcome the sand trap. Therefore the opportunity to build that common bond, to unlock the gene that brings teams together, is never to be had on the golf course.

What are some other events you have done that help build stronger teams?

Business VoIP – Is a Hosted Solution the Way to Go?

You have many choices to look at when looking at VoIP. Hosted or on site is just one of them. There are good things to say about both. To me it all breaks down to the practical applications. For instance do you have multiple locations. Or do you have any workers that work remotely. Would you like those option somewhere in the future. Are you utilizing MPLS technology. The fact is that now is the time to ask these questions. Not merely do I like the Idea of hosted or on site. My suggestion is to really look hard at what you want your network to look like and then make the choice based on the direction you want to go.

That being said there are many good reasons to go with hosted solutions. The fact is that as long as you have hosted solution that offers redundant servers, a robust backbone, and an SLA that offers 5 9’s reliability. You can’t go wrong with a hosted solution. Most come with a total package. You eliminate soft costs involved with managing your own system. Best yet, if new features or phones come up you can easily access the new technology with out having to make huge capital investments in software and license costs.

Also, Voice T1’s/PRI’s can handle 23 calls, so 4 T1’s x’s 23 is 92 calls at once, whereas with Hosted at 40K per voice call you only need 3 T1’s to support 105 calls at once. (40K x’s 105 calls is 4.2MB on a bonded 4.5MB data circuit).

Another really big advantage of Hosted is that no VPN or VPN appliance is needed for remote offices or home-workers, the SIP stations are very Plug & Play. With Cisco, Shoretel, Avaya etc, a VPN is required to the home, and then, once set up, that station is not too mobile, versus a Plug & SIP station can be taken anywhere in the world and will boot up and work great without VPN. This is huge. In fact, many firms that are embedded with large investments into Cisco, Avaya etc, are beginning to bring a SIP trunk into the PBX and then let the Hosted Provider handle the handshake between the PBX and the Home Workers – it’s more affordable, easier to set up and manage, more mobile, and the quality is more consistent. This is due to the fact that a $2M carrier grade hosted switch does a better job than a $200K PBX as it contains higher grade carrier components such as an SBC (session border controller- a little $200K component) to make things easier – eliminates the need for VPN, gets around firewalls and more. A SIP trunk into a PBX connected to Broadcore, and, for example, 50 home workers on DSL/Cable, would create seamless extension dialing between the Broadcore phones (for example Polycom stations), and the PBX stations – the hosted provider is connected to both, and creates a 4 -digit dialing plan from home phones to PBX phones. Very cool.

All that being said it is really up to you to decide what is important to your Enterprise. Then seek out the best solution that fits your expectations for the next 5 to 10 years.

For help finding that best solution … use the no cost service available at Business VoIP Solution.

Could These Two Secrets to Getting Advice Be Helpful to Successful Business Women?

Successful business women know the importance of having mentors at various stages throughout their lives. Whether it was in school, sports teams, dance or other activities, who among us doesn’t remember having someone who offered the help, support and advice that helped us get some challenging times.

Business is tough enough for success business women so why not have some people you can count on for support. Many people will tell you what they think you want to hear, not enough will tell you what you should hear.

And receiving and accepting candid feedback is a main reason why successful business women get that way. They use it to avoid costly mistakes and make better decisions to achieve their business goals and professional aspirations.

Mentors are important to those who may be lacking the experience, knowledge or skills required in a certain task or position. Successful business women can leverage the capabilities of others to help them when their lack of experience could be a liability.

After all any stretch assignment has potential pitfalls where your lack of experience could cause you to fail. This is where a mentor can help. You learn from their mistakes, not just from yours.

But how do you know what type of mentor you need? Who would be the best person to help? How can successful business women find them?

The first step requires an objective self-assessment – You can’t find a mentor until you “find” (know) yourself. Only after you know what you need, can you find a mentor to help.

Ask yourself what do I really need in a mentor – if it’s for career then maybe you want to know what jobs you should be taking now. What course and/or training are needed? What assignments should successful business women be thinking about taking to give them the right experience given their career choices?

Or maybe you’re in a new role or stretch assignment. You might want to ask a mentor – What are the barriers to success? How do I get around them? Who should I involve? What other skills are needed? And so on. Determine and understand what you really want.

Step 2 – After you have answered these questions, ask yourself how a mentor can help you.

Mentors can help with a promotion, developing skills, identifying strengths, getting help with weakness and as well as business progress. They can also be business development sponsors for successful business women.

The right business related mentor is also someone who knows your field, can help you learn new things and is willing to give his or her time to help you. Often they have the knowledge and skills, open-mindedness, accessibility, trustworthiness and reliability.

Sometimes their great success comes with great egos which can be a problem. Just because someone has significant cache doesn’t mean they will help you. Successful business women will also need to determine the structure of the mentoring relationship – in person, virtual and global or network. And if the mentoring relationship is for long term or just for short period of time.

Successful business women may not find a mentor over night. They will need to continually be reaching out to people who they think could help. Meeting with them, sharing ideas and concerns. Over time you will determine if they are the right person for you: can they be the mentors that you need to help you and your business.

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