Team Anatomy: How to Form Core Team
Catherine, about whom in a company can we say that they are "the core team" and what does it mean?
In my opinion, the core team is not always those people who work from the beginning of a project or a sector. They are the people whom you can trust and rely on. They are employees who, in spite of all the ups and downs, stay loyal and support the company and its leader.
How to create it? What are the criteria and why some employees become a core team members and some just stay regular employees?
There are several important principles. Firstly, it is the gut feeling and intuition of the executive. He or she knows whom and when can be relied on, what motivates and moves the core team, if they share the company’s values if the immaterial motivation prevails over the material one. If the latter is true then as a leader this is your core team, and generally, it only depends on you, if your team stays just a collection of employees.
For how long can such a team operate most effectively? What does its lifespan depend on?
Unfortunately, we can only approximate. No wonder, most employers are only interested in the last 7 years of work experience in a resume, in my opinion, this is the lifespan. After this time any person requires personal development. It can be a material one (though, such motivation does not hold for a long time) or immaterial, like an expansion of the area of responsibility, new responsibilities, growth, and development, even with a change of activities and projects. If you don’t provide all of that for the team it will fall apart.
For what reasons might the core team fail to carry out its support function?
Due to the lack of involvement and interest and possibly also internal competition. The team needs activity and movement. It is good, when it comes from outside, if not, it is necessary to come up with something within the team. It can be internal competition, new projects, new responsibilities. People need growth and appropriate incentives, again, again, not necessarily material, although they are good
Rotating, "fresh blood" ... but is it possible to find such a team in every company?
Fresh blood is good to some extent. Everything is well at the right time and the right place. If you feel that your employees are “depressed” introduce a little something to compete for. The key word here is “a little”. Otherwise, there is a risk of losing the entire foundation that you have built over the years.
Under what conditions does a group become the team?
In difficult conditions. If a group manages to go through the mill and stay together you can consider them to be the core team.
By what signs can we detect company’s stagnation?
It's simple, starting from the systematic failure of hitting the target and ending with systematic lateness in the office. And if employees refuse to go to some corporate event, that's IT for sure. Without activity and initiatives, there is no development of the company.
How to make the core team work enthusiastically, to welcome newcomers and give them experience, to generate new ideas and implement them, etc.?
You need to give the team a common goal. You need to inspire them with an idea, an overall objective. Make sure that everyone understands it and share its value. It is necessary to ensure that the team members believe in it and also believe in their own ability to implement it. It is necessary to give people all the necessary resources for its implementation, and then to talk about bonuses which await them, and never let them down.
“All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others” (Orwell). What relationships are formed within the team?
Here again, everything depends on the capability to see and understand people. Each needs his or her own individual approach. If the executive does not want to spend his or her time to get to know each team member it can be difficult. When you possess this knowledge, it is very easy to find the right words.
Are any forms of punishment applicable to all team members or some of them?
It is difficult for me to say anything about this... to be honest, in my practice, I only used the whip in the most extreme case. For me, it meant recognition of the weakness. If other positive methods were not effective, or to be more honest, I miss an opportunity to use them, then yes, the easiest way was to punish. But a different question arises here: how to return an employee to engaging work after a punishment. And that was my punishment.
How do successful companies solve the problem of the need to attract "fresh blood" from outside the company and the problem of adaptation, smooth integration into the company and its business processes?
In this case, you definitely need to prepare the staff in advance. You should not discuss a particular person - the soon arriving "fresh blood" - but instead discuss the need for business and common cause to get a new perspective on the company's activities. There should be the collective interest in new knowledge and new experiences. You can tell some existing successful examples and probable consequences of hiring a new employee. After that, you can move on to telling about the person. You can tell about his or her experience. It is not necessarily to talk about the achievements, but you must tell what profit he or she will bring to the company.
How do “the team” members usually respond, for example, to some changes, that were not discussed to them directly: a change in bonuses system, the firing of some distinguished members of “the team", moving to a new regional office and so on?
They respond well if the executives take care of this. Here, the leader’s task is to do everything in advance. You can turn it into "good news and bad news” situation. The key word here is "care" – if team leader knows it then there should not be any problems.