5 Essential Steps To Transform Any Group Into A Great Team

by  Sean Glaze  |  Resources
5 Essential Steps To Transform Any Group Into A Great Team

If you are anything like me, you will be able to relate to the main character of my most recent book, Rapid Teamwork.

His name is Greg – and as the director of a large organization, he does a good job.

But his team is under-performing…and despite his focus on strategy and skills and metrics, he can’t figure out what is missing.

So his management team is encouraged to take a trip together – to go whitewater rafting.

What follows is a series of powerful and entertaining lessons, as their rafting guide shares a recipe with Greg and his people that includes the n.

  • Goals & Gear – According to the guide, all great teams begin with a compelling common goal that requires people to work interdependently as a small part of something more significant than themselves. People have to have a why that defines their daily efforts. They need to have the gear that makes the journey possible. But it is also important to ensure that focusing on the gear doesn’t become a distraction to accomplishing the stated goals – because comfort without commitment produces complacency.

    To become a team, individuals must have oars, a boat, and a map that clearly communicates signs and where they are going.

  • Rapport & Relationships – One of my favorite quotes from Andy Stanley, senior pastor of North Point Community Church, is that “rules without relationships lead to rebellion.” The second lesson that the rafting guide offers to Greg and his people is that you will always be able to work more effectively with people when you are more aware of their beliefs, experiences, and desires. This is the part of the recipe that I, and honestly most people in positions of authority, struggle to understand the importance of in their role as leaders. According to Greg’s guide, leadership and relationships occur one conversation at a time. The problem is that most conversations are about authority instead of asking questions to improve our awareness.

    To be come a team, individuals spend time together and learn to appreciate other’s talents.

  • Expectations and Encouragement – The third step in building a high-performing team is to have clear expectations for each person and what their roles will be. A high-performance team is one where everyone is contributing according to their strengths. That is why so many organizations invest in personality style assessments. Leaders want to get good people in the right seats on their bus and ensure they can use the same vocabulary and follow the effective protocols that their company has established. And encouragement is important because there are two types of whitewater rafters; those who have fallen out and those who someday will. When people struggle, great teammates support and assist others to get them back into the boat.

    To become a teams, individuals must assign and accept roles and provide praise for teammates to meet those performance standards.

  • Traits Four & Five – Traits 4 and 5 are waiting for you in the final third of the book and are vital to creating a high-performing, cohesive, and collaborative team culture. By the time Greg and his coworkers have finished their trip down the river, they are ready to go back to work with the tools and insights that allow them to eventually become a more productive team.

If you are leading a team in any industry, the lessons of Rapid Teamwork will resonate and provide a relevant and useful recipe for building a better team culture with your people. The quote from the following image is incredibly accurate.

I invite you to visit the Rapid Teamwork website to learn more about the book, share a few quotes from the book as tweets, and consider following Greg on his journey of awareness to improve yourself as a leader.

What steps do you consider indispensable to building a great team?
Photo Credit: Fotolia VILefi

About The Author

Articles By sean-glaze
Sean helps smart organizations improve teamwork, boost morale, and create a high-performance culture with fun team building events, entertaining keynotes, and customized workshops  »  View Profile

What People Are Saying

John E. Smith  |  20 Aug 2015  |  Reply

Hi, Sean – interesting post.

Now I want to read your book to get the whole story (not that you were angling for that:).

The metaphor of engaging in an intense outdoor experience as a lens to view our business relationships is a good strategy and based on your post, you use it well. I was particularly intrigued by two points you made:

1) Rapport and Relationships: You mention that this is an area of struggle for many leaders and I agree. I wonder whether we have done enough work in support of the model of servant leadership, which seems to nicely coincide with the idea of knowing your colleagues on a more personal level, rather than just at the business level.

While some may see getting to know each other at work as a personal and optional activity, my experiences support your point: Knowing people as individuals pays benefits.

2) Expectations and Encouragement: Your comment about organizations using personality assessment caught my attention quickly … a subject near and dear to me. I believe strongly in the use of assessments, but not as much just to identify an individual’s strengths and fit, but also to help everyone first understand each other’s preferences (using DiSC language here) within their work group and organization, but also to create a culture where flexing in response to other’s needs is valued.

For example, it is good to know that a particular person has strengths in providing clarity and organization (a high C in DiSC world) when their organizational role calls for those attributes, but it is also important to help that person flex and become more action-oriented and able to concisely report, rather than report in detail, when the situation or co-workers or the boss expects those qualities.

Just thinking out loud … enjoyed your post and I am looking forward to reading the book, even though I am NO shooter of rapids:)


Sean Glaze  |  20 Aug 2015  |  Reply

John –

Thanks for your comments!
The servant leadership model is powerful – and I believe more connected organizations are more effective ones.
Personality types are helpful as well, as they provide an awareness so we can put our messages in the “right envelope” based on our teammate tendencies…
Looking forward to your review of the book!


Jane Anderson  |  21 Aug 2015  |  Reply

My interest was immediately piqued, Sean, first by the photo of white water rafting and next by your expertly grafting the traits of leadership into the responsibilities of rafters. When joining a rafting team for a day venture, you are thrown into the event with individuals you’ve never seen before – and you will probably never see again. The key to getting safely down the river and having a fun excursion depends on all those things you pointed out. I think above all, having a why and having a relationship, regardless of the length of it, are two of the most important. For the next 4 hours or the next 40 years the end result depends on how well you work together.

Sean Glaze  |  21 Aug 2015  |  Reply

Jane – grateful for your thoughts.
YES! – connecting to a compelling common goal, and then connecting to each other, are the two vital parts of creating a cohesive team. The last three “ingredients” all depend upon those first two, I think…

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