On Being a Team Player
Mark Schnurman July 28, 2014, 2:13 p.m.
Teams are all the rage in the business world but must be well conceived, structured and managed to reach their true potential. A recent survey of employers indicated that the ability to work collaboratively and cohesively in a team environment is the most important trait in the workplace and it is especially true for brokers. At Eastern where, after researching and analyzing the traits of high performing teams across industries, we chose to eschew the traditional static brokerage team model in favor of a dynamic team model–one that benefits both clients and brokers alike.
We changed the model because we believed that creating teams on a deal by deal basis would allow us to best serve clients while at the same time create a great learning environment for new brokers. Both of these beliefs have been effectively born out by the success of the model.
At Eastern, teamwork is a force multiplier that makes each individual better. These are some of the areas that we focus on for team development.
Creating teams for individual deals lets us deliver the highest level of expertise and improve the clients’ chances of achieving his/her goals. Eastern’s business model in general is very flexible relative to our peers and the same holds true for team creation.
Team members must have complementary skill sets and avoid redundancy. If all members of a team possess the same strengths and weaknesses the team will be ineffective. A high performing team has people playing all of the key roles such as strategy, negotiation, canvassing, and marketing.
There must be a leader. We identify a senior broker to drive strategy and execution. The team leader is responsible for team communication, the pitch meeting, marketing strategy and ensuring that each team member understands the goals and performs at a high level.
The team must have clear goals and focus on activities to achieve the goals. Teamwork requires that every team member – whether broker, analyst, administrative assistant or marketing – understands the goal and necessary actions for its achievement. For example, when representing a seller the goals could include maximizing the value of the asset, keeping the deal confidential or consummating the sale within a specified timeframe.
Team members must have clear roles. Every team member must precisely know the role or responsibilities they must perform and these are created based on member expertise and strengths. The beauty of Eastern’s dynamic model is that our new brokers take on additional responsibility directly related to their ability and are not stuck doing a job that is significantly below their skill level.
Teams need effective communication. Frequent, clear and direct communications improves team performance. As a general rule teams should share everything with each other and have regular, intentional meetings. Lack of opacity improves performance.
Teams must be reflective and reinvent themselves. Teams, like people, are never perfect. It is important to evaluate what works and what did not. Constant evaluation and improvement compels Eastern’s teams forward.
It is easy for teams to get stale. Adding a key player or changing up the lineup helps keep teams fresh, focused and performing at a high level. Teams either get better or worse but they never stay the same. Tied into the reflection is the need to reinvent and make changes. One of the great parts of Eastern’s model is that because it is dynamic with different brokers constantly partnering with each other, our brokers are able to identify and adapt best practices. Static teams don’t naturally provide this and that is a large reason why they need to go outside to receive coaching and guidance.
Celebrate success. Teams work hard and when they achieve their goals they should celebrate. Rewarding yourself for accomplishment serves to reinforce the positive feeling and the work environment.
Teams are here to stay and these tips will help yours perform at a high level!