These 7 factors determine the success factor of a team!

Everyone wants them, some have them, others don't. We are not talking about M&Ms, but about successful teams. But it's not that difficult to form a high-performance team. At least if you know the right parameters.

Even the Greek scholar Aristotle knew: "The whole is more than the sum of its parts. " This simple truth also applies to modern cooperation in project teams.

Without the oil in the gearbox, even the best clockwork made of the most filigree cogwheels will only run stiffly. It is precisely this gear oil that is needed to turn outstanding specialists and managers into a successful team. The US company Google, which is not only known for its continuous innovations, but also for its very special working atmosphere, has gone in search of the emblematic gear oil.

"A clear vision, reliability, structure & clarity and importance of work are factors for successful teams."

What factors make a successful team?

The five factors for successful teams identified by Google include reliability, structure & clarity and a clear vision. In addition, the fourth factor is the significance of the work for the individual. Only when the work done has meaning does the necessary inner motivation for top performance awaken in each team member.

However, according to Google, the most important factor is the psychological security of being able to work openly and without fear with colleagues and superiors. With our following tips, you can work on all these areas and make your team a successful team! And if it is already successful, it might become even more successful with these tips - try it out!

Tip 1 - Work on a common vision

"Whoever has visions should go to the doctor", said no less a person than former chancellor Helmut Schmidt. With regard to successfully designed work in a team, however, no statement is more wrong than this.

Look at the great entrepreneurs in history who have changed the world with their ventures. Without a vision that started from a single figure and spread to the whole team, many an innovation would never have happened. 

Without the visionary teamwork of Tesla's management team, electric cars with several hundred kilometres would still belong to the realm of the "impossible" like automobiles, aeroplanes, the moon landing and telephones with touch control.

So have the courage: speak openly about your personal goals in the team, build a common vision out of your ideas and pursue this goal. This creates a sense of cohesion and increases both morale and work efficiency.

Tip 2 - Ensure clear individual responsibility

Have you ever wondered why magazines are always piling up in the hallway of a block of flats with several tenants, why the pavement is only swept irregularly or why the common rooms look like "Hempel's under the sofa"? This is due to a lack of role allocation and a resulting lack of sense of responsibility. "But I'm not responsible for that, there are enough others around." That is the classic explanation. But if everyone thinks like that, nothing works. 

This applies to our tenement as well as to the cooperation within the team. Require your team to sign a joint commitment that is aligned with the shared vision. Put this individual responsibility in writing like a code and have every team member sign the collection of rules of conduct. It is not for nothing that secret societies and elite organisations have successfully relied on this simple tool for thousands of years. Form your own elite organisation in which loyalty to the team takes precedence over individual sensitivities.

Tip 3 - Clear division of roles is the key

Do you still remember the group presentations in your school days? Wasn't it always the case that one or two people did everything and everyone else was just bored, didn't contribute anything to the research, couldn't do their text or stammered around during the presentation? If you were the "diligent one", the group mark of "three minus" must have really annoyed you. With a proper distribution of roles, this would not have happened.

And that is precisely the crux of teamwork. It doesn't matter whether you are at school, at university or working in a project team. Following on from tip 2, assign clear roles according to the skills of your team members. Only in this way can everyone contribute their strengths in the best possible way, so that one gear meshes with the other like in Swiss clockwork. Forget rigid job profiles - be flexible. 

Tip 4 - Relentless openness and honesty

Nobody likes to go it alone. Especially not when it comes to teamwork. A successful team thrives on open and honest communication at all levels. This applies above all to decision-making. In a well-harmonised team, decisions are made together as often as possible and never over the heads of the team members. 

In situations where decisions cannot be made jointly, they should at least be prepared and communicated in all details in good time. Going it alone is often perceived as patronising and disrespectful. And this is exactly what drives a wedge through even a professionally excellent team. So make sure that every team member always has all the necessary information available and is involved in decision-making processes whenever possible. 

Tip 5 - Heterogeneous teams are successful teams

"We've always done it that way" or "we've never done it that way before". These are by far the most common phrases when team members from outside come to a long-established specialist department. You know this? Good, because then you know where to start for a successful team. Put your team together not only according to professional qualifications, but also according to soft factors and break up rusty structures! 

Different perspectives create a completely new view of problems and ensure creative solutions and the necessary conditions for innovation and disruption. At this point we would just like to say: Tesla - while the best engineers at VW and Co. have not managed to design electric vehicles with a reasonable range for a long time, an interdisciplinary team at Tesla has broken down old structures and made the impossible possible. Dare to think outside the box!

Tip 6 - Regular constructive feedback

A successful team needs an open feedback culture. After all, the following work step is only as good as its previously laid foundation. So what is the point of not addressing problems constructively for fear of conflict? And the earlier the feedback is given, the better.

In this way, problems remain small and the effort to correct them low. In addition, constructive feedback plays an important part in helping each team member improve as an individual and in working with the team. 

However, feedback should not be limited to criticism. Recognition for good work and even simple praise are extremely important for hygiene and cohesion in a team. This applies both to feedback from managers and to feedback at lower hierarchical levels.

Tip 7 - Celebrate successes

Celebrate celebrations as they fall. From a depth psychology point of view, nothing works better than emerging positive emotions associated with the achievement of a milestone, an intermediate goal or even the achievement of the project goal. Shared experiences and the celebration of joint efforts weld people together and help to successfully pursue the common vision despite obstacles.

Successful teams do not fall from the sky

You can't order a successful team at the push of a button. You have to form it. This work is worthwhile, however, because simple measures turn a group of highly qualified individualists into a real high-performance team. Conversely, this also means that an outstanding team without outstanding individualists is always superior to a poorly functioning team with outstanding individualists.

If a team does not work together successfully, its performance is usually only average. The result: innovations and efficient solutions fail to materialise and the agile competition overtakes you with their high-performance teams. Reason enough to take action today.