4 Elements of a Dynamic Team Environment

April 28, 2008

As with any business that requires a variety of skill sets to support their business model, Digett has its own group of gurus it depends on to produce remarkable results. I’m proud to be a part of what I consider an amazing team. It was a dynamic and powerful group when I came on board, and it grows more capable and fluid every day.

But what elements transform a group of professionals into an authentic team? What “secret ingredient”, if you will, serves as the catalyst to such a transformation? What binding agent fuses a group together to form a tornado of talent and skill? What forces are at work that create a team full of such momentum and energy that it can best be described as a controlled volcano, bursting forth with outstanding excellence and value for our clients?

While I can’t point to any particular component that makes our team dynamic and successful, I have identified a few contributing factors which, when combined with all our unique personalities, create a team environment which frees us up and empowers us to do what we do. Read along, and hopefully you will find a few ideas you might want to try with your team.

Team Lunch

Once a week we gather the team to eat lunch together. It has served to boost morale and provide a change of pace that we all look forward to every week. Rather than have the menu passed down through corporate, we rotate who picks the dining selection each week. It’s a way for each team member to show their personality and tastes.

Sometimes the results can be quite amusing, as our menu suggestions run the gamut from enormous hamburgers with three slabs of meat, to salad-type sandwiches with guacamole and lettuce as the main ingredient. Ultimately, the team lunch is a chance to relax and hang out - all in a refreshing context which returns us ready to work with renewed vigor.

Team Room

Cubicles and offices are designed to separate workspace. That’s fine if your people aren’t working together, but if they are, you may find that the walls inhibit communication.

When a member of the team needs something from me, they lean over and ask me. We all work in a big room together. The personal interaction encourages team mentality and focus, and allows friendships to form in ways that a day full of black-on-white emails just can’t.

Additionally, friends, more so than mere co-workers, keep positive attitudes and pull together through adversity to get things done. Inter-office bickering and other such plagues are symptoms of a team that is too fractured relationally to function together. You’re not a team if you don’t know each other. A team room helps everyone, well, work as a team.

Casual Dress Code

This may not work for everyone, but I find that having a more casual dress code breaks down pretensions and encourages creativity. It’s hard to bring the benefits of your individuality and imagination to the table if you feel like you’re a rubber stamp of the person next to you.

Complementary (Yet Overlapping) Skill Sets

We’re each experts in our field, but that doesn’t mean we’re omniscient. One of the things I enjoy most about our team is the seemingly unlimited opportunity for growth and learning. Everyone here has something to learn from the rest of the team.

As I am free to ask, say Andrew for example, for guidance whenever I need it, his ability and willingness to help me grow as a team member instills in me a sense of eagerness and responsibility to return the favor when he needs to pick my brain. As a result, the team is adding value to itself - value that we will all benefit from over and over again in the future.

The snowball effect is powerful, and I believe our success is due in part to this phenomenon. Fostering a sense of mutual mentorship in your group will provide tremendous returns in the building of a dynamic team.

That's all for now. May your team be dynamic and may you all drink deeply from the resultant cup of success!