Forming a Team: The Winning Combination

I am trying to make the most of my return to college by getting as involved as I can. So far this means getting into a lot of competitions. The business school professors also like assigning group work. Between these competitions and group assignments I have gained some insight into what makes the teams I am in work.


  1.  Get people smarter than you – I have heard this before but didn’t understand. There are things I am good at and things I am not good at. This can apply to most everyone. It so happens I am not good at accounting. I happen to know a guy that is good at accounting. Welcome to the team. He isn’t very good at presenting, I am. Neither of us are great at market research, but I know a lady that is. Each person has their specialty. We ended up with a lot of overlap in skills which also worked to our advantage. No one person was the only person capable of a needed skill. This keeps the pressure from being too much on one person. Making allies of people with skills you don’t have serves you in the long run.
  2. Don’t team up with your friends – This one can be hard. Sometimes you need the skills your friends have or you eventually make friends with team members. The key here is to treat time spent with your team professionally. You want to hangout and have fun with friends which can be detrimental to team projects. If you start with friends on your team, establish rules from the first meeting. Keep yourself on track and reward yourselves for keeping to your task.
  3. Meet often – I see a lot of teams struggling because they don’t meet up very often. The project is easily broken into parts, so each person works alone on one aspect of the project. This can be an efficient way to get work done, but if you don’t meet with your team you won’t detect problems, duplicated work or missing components until the end. These meetings don’t have to be long, just a quick update of where everyone stands and a quick peer review of each others work. This keeps everyone on task and identifies issues while there is still time to fix them.
  4. Set up the group rules – Each group needs rules and these should be set up from the first meeting. How are decisions to be made? How is feedback handled? What is the role of each person? Getting the group rules set up early will save time and frustration later.

Hopefully these tips will make your teams run smoother. Got any more team tips? Comment below.

Image courtesy of suphakit73/


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