No matter what product or service your company provides, your most valuable asset is your staff. Employees who pull together as a team can help your company reach its goals, find ways to become more efficient and effective, and provide the exceptional customer service that will make you stand out from your competitors. How can you develop the team spirit that will help you win your race to the top?

Make the Commitment

In the rush of urgent day-to-day business, it’s easy to put off doing what’s required to build a winning team. To get the long-term results you want, it’s important to make team-building a priority and to invest the necessary time, effort and manpower to get the job done. Most companies pay lip service to team-building, but the few that do it consistently achieve extraordinary success.

What’s Your Game Plan?

Every successful coach has a plan of action in place well before the game begins. Develop a written vision and mission statement for your company that includes why you’re in business, what you hope to accomplish, and how you plan to reach your goals. Then communicate your plan to all your employees and make sure each one knows how he or she fits into the plan.

Building Your Team

Jim Collins, in his best-selling book, Good to Great, discusses the importance of hiring the right people for each job (what he calls “getting the right people in the right seats on the bus”). Before you hire someone, make sure that individual is the right person for the job. For mission-critical positions, invest in a personality test for the candidate to make sure he or she has the aptitude and personality to make a perfect fit. Once you have your team on board, invest the necessary time and effort to train them properly. Then find out what motivates them and make sure to provide what they need to stay engaged and enthusiastic.

Talk It Out

Communication is one of the most effective tools you have in developing a winning team spirit. Make sure your leaders are informed and engaged, and set up procedures for them to disseminate information to their team members. Invite employees in all areas of the company to provide feedback on processes and procedures – as the people on the front lines, their suggestions may give you the winning edge over your competition. Set up procedures for employees to voice grievances, and address them promptly – sweeping problems under the rug doesn’t make them go away.


Research has shown that recognition for accomplishments makes a big difference in an employee’s attitude. It costs nothing to give someone an “atta boy” for a job well done. Consider setting up a recognition program to reward your top performers, as well as rank-and-file people who have gone above and beyond.

Don’t Let Your Superstars Become Free Agents

Your top performers will be the foundation of your team as business improves. Take action now to improve retention so they won’t get “picked off” by a rival company. Sit down with your key players and find out what they like about the company and their job, and capitalize on that. Ask about negatives so you can look for ways to mitigate them.